spinach and mozzarella balls
Updated: Tue, 15 December, 2020
Spinach and mozzarella oven baked balls, with crunchy breadcrumb coating and hearty garlicky seasoning - the signature dish of my favourite home chef!
The appeal of ball-shaped foods
Balls is not a bad way to have your food presented. There’s something comforting about round shapes on your plate, often than not smothered in tomato or gravy. A sphere of food is arguably more enticing than a square – unless we’re talking pork belly or lasagne.
Bite-sized balls are particularly cute, the ones that will go in one. Truffles are hardly ever square, are they? Here's to the ball shaped snacks!
Dinner on the ball
So how about a dinner of meatballs with a side order of arancini or Mexican rice balls, followed by a cheese ball and crackers; with marzipan balls for sweets? And the veg, why, of course: spinach balls!
Spinach and cheese signature balls
It’s the signature dish of my favourite home chef and he often makes them for a starter. His are fancier and frequently involve bacon which is never a bad thing. When I took the reins, I just mashed everything up together. Guess what – it works very well.
They are really good as a side dish, being more spinachy than cheesy. If you fancy them as a gooey, oozy snack or appetizer, add more cheese and then some.
Fresh or frozen spinach balls?
Both work absolutely fine. If using frozen spinach, make sure you thaw it completely and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. The upside of frozen spinach is that it needs no blanching.
How to make spinach and cheese balls?
The mix is best mashed together by hand - use your fingers to pulp the ingredients into well-combined mixture. Shape the mix into - guess what? - balls, the size of a golf ball and chill them well. They can easily be made ahead, as a party snack or starter. Made the day before, chilled overnight and baked just before or some time before serving.
Bake the balls
They need about 25-30 minutes in the oven, or until the breadcrumb coating colours lightly. They may sometimes crack if not shaped tightly enough - but will still be completely gorgeous.
spinach and mozzarella ballsServings: makes 10 ballsTime: 1 hour plus chilling
, main course
, valentine's day
- 300g (11oz.) fresh or frozen spinach
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 20g (4 tbsp.) grated Parmesan plus 2 tbsp. for coating
- 120g (4½ oz.) mozzarella, diced
- 50g (scant ½ cup) Panko breadcrumbs plus 2 tbsp. for coating
- 1 egg
- salt and black pepper
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
1. If using fresh spinach, wash it and blanch in boiling water or wilt in a microwave. Let it cool down and squeeze as much moisture out of it as you can. Chop it roughly. If using frozen, thaw it completely and again, squeeze the living daylights out of it. Chop roughly if it’s whole leaves.
2. Mix all the ingredients very thoroughly in a bowl, except for the extra Parmesan and breadcrumbs for coating; mix those in a separate bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Scoop a tablespoon of the mix at a time and form tight balls; roll them in the coating mix and place on a tray. When all are shaped, chill them for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Brush a baking tray with cooking oil.
5. Place the chilled balls on the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes until the coating breadcrumbs turn golden brown.
6. Serve immediately as a side dish or starter; but the balls are also nice as finger food, at room temperature.