pound spinach, washed
pounds ground chicken
teaspoons kosher salt
teaspoon black pepper
teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of ground cayenne
Pinch of ground nutmeg
teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
Pinch of ground cinnamon
cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
serrano chile, with seeds, finely chopped
cup soft fresh bread crumbs, from about 4 slices of crustless sandwich bread
cup heavy cream, half-and-half or milk
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
Lime or lemon wedges, for serving
- Blanch the spinach: Plunge leaves a handful at a time into a pot of boiling water. Leave just long enough to wilt, about 30 seconds, then drain in a colander and cool under running water. Remove and squeeze wilted leaves into a ball. Using a large knife, roughly chop spinach on a cutting board — you should have about 2 cups. Squeeze into a ball again to remove excess water. (This may be done several hours or up to a day in advance and refrigerated.)
- In a large bowl, put chicken, salt, pepper, lemon zest, cayenne, nutmeg, fennel seeds, cinnamon, spinach, cilantro, chile, egg, bread crumbs and cream. Using your clean hands, knead everything together, mixing well. Leave to absorb seasoning for 15 minutes or overnight.
- Test for seasoning: Take a small amount and flatten into a thin patty. Quickly cook in a small skillet, about 1 minute per side. Taste, then adjust the mixture’s seasoning if necessary.
- Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, form 24 rough balls and place on a baking sheet. (The mixture will be soft.) Lightly sprinkle the balls with a very small amount of flour.
- Set a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to a depth of 1/4 inch. When oil is wavy, use a spoon to help slip in balls into skillet. Gently fry the balls without crowding. Adjust heat as necessary (high heat will make them tough.) Cook for about 4 minutes per side; they should be golden brown, not too dark. Serve with lime or lemon wedges.