These spinach and pine nuts croquettes are going to amaze you because they are delicious, very easy to make and will certainly be a perfect dinner for the whole family.
These croquettes with spinach will be a perfect way to get your children to eat vegetables without protesting, having the spinach disguised behind one of their favorite foods, the croquettes.
You already know that with children you have to use the 10 times rule (a child must try a new food 10 times before he/she tolerates it), and play with the children by naming the vegetables, for example. A study was done some time ago showing that children ate vegetables better when they were given names like "the galactic tomato".
- 300 g fresh spinach
- 150 g of onion
- 1 garlic
- 50 g pine nuts
- 350 ml of milk. Soy milk can be used
- 60 g flour (about 6 tablespoons)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 eggs
- Bread crumbs
Prepare the spinach: Chop the onion and garlic very finely and fry them in a large frying pan with the bottom covered with oil until they are transparent. Season with salt and pepper
Meanwhile we boil the chopped spinach about 5 minutes in boiling water, or sauté in a pan until they release the water and reduce the size. Drain well.
Put the spinach in the pan with the poached onion and after a few minutes the whole pine nuts and mix well.
Make the béchamel sauce for the croquettes: Add the flour to the vegetables and stir for a few minutes until lightly toasted. Add the milk little by little stirring to make the béchamel sauce. Season with salt and pepper and add nutmeg to taste.
Little by little the mass of the béchamel sauce will thicken, when it has the texture we want it to have, remove from the heat and let it cool. Pour into a bowl and let it cool, then cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface to prevent it from drying out and put it in the refrigerator.
Fry the spinach croquettes: Once the dough has cooled in the refrigerator for at least one hour (if you let it rest overnight even better), take it out and form the croquettes.
We take the amount of a spoonful of the dough, shape it with two spoons and then we coat it first in beaten egg and then in breadcrumbs. We fry the croquettes in a frying pan with hot oil and when we take them out we place them on a tray with absorbent paper to absorb the excess oil.
9 tips to make the best croquettes with spinach
Resting the croquette dough in the refrigerator: To obtain a compact dough that does not fall apart and has the right texture, it is best to let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight.
Size of the croquettes: The size of the croquettes is important to prevent them from falling apart, ideally they should be the size of a soup spoon and all of them should have a similar size so that the frying time is the same in all of them. If you prefer and it is easier for you, you can make round croquettes instead of elongated ones.
Triple batter: If you want them to be even crunchier you can make a triple batter to get a more compact and crunchy outer layer (flour, egg and breadcrumbs). Try to make the flour layer very light, making them "jump" on your hands to release the excess flour. Another option is breadcrumbs, egg and breadcrumbs again.
Breadcrumbs: Here you have the option of using panko bread (Japanese breadcrumbs) if you want them to be crunchier.
Resting before frying: For the breadcrumbs to dry out and thus make them crispier, you can let them rest for half an hour once they are coated in batter and before frying them.
Frying the croquettes: It is important that there is enough oil, so one option is to put it in a saucepan instead of a frying pan so that the surface is smaller and you do not need so much oil. This way you will not have to turn the croquettes, which can cause them to be unevenly fried. To fry the croquettes we recommend olive oil, since it withstands high temperatures better than sunflower oil, so you will get the oil to the ideal temperature without breaking the croquettes.
Oil temperature: For frying, the oil must have a temperature of about 175ºC. To know if they have the correct temperature when you put the first croquette (you can try introducing one end) it has to make bubbles, but without smoking. Fry in small quantities to prevent the oil from cooling in each batch.
To avoid greasy croquettes we put them first on a strainer to release the most of the oil and then we pass them to a plate with kitchen paper to absorb the rest of the oil.
Freezing croquettes: To freeze these croquettes once you have them in batter and before frying them, put them on a tray, cover the tray with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for about 5 hours. Remove them from the tray and put them in a freezer bag. We take them to the freezer and reserve them until the moment we are going to use them. To fry them we can put them directly frozen in the hot oil without freezing.