3 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed, cooked, chopped, and squeezed dry (or 20 ounces thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry)
About 1 cup matza meal
About 3/4 teaspoon table salt (or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges for serving
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and, if using, the garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the spinach, matza meal, salt, pepper, and, if using, the nutmeg or cayenne. Stir in the eggs. If the mixture is too loose, add a little more matza meal. The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for a day.
2. Shape the spinach mixture into patties 3 inches long and 1½ inches wide, with tapered ends. In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat. In batches, fry the patties, turning, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm, accompanied with lemon wedges.
SEPHARDIC SPINACH PATTIES WITH CHEESE (Keftes de Espinaca con Queso): Add 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Muenster, Swiss, Gouda, or Cheddar cheese, or ¼ cup grated kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese.
SEPHARDIC SPINACH PATTIES WITH WALNUTS (Keftes de Espinaca con Muez): Substitute 1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped walnuts for the matza meal.
ITALIAN SPINACH PATTIES (Polpettine di Spinaci): Add 3/4 cup raisins soaked in white wine for 30 minutes, then drained, and 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts.
This recipe is featured in these books & articles
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World