Adapted from a recipe by Chef Brandon Boudet of Dominick’s in West Hollywood, California.
At Dominick’s, Chef Boudet offers a “meatball flight” that brings together three tastes on one plate. A recent trio consisted of grilled chicken balls with a mint-lemon-garlic sauce, alligator balls with a sweet-spicy sauce and mushroom-spinach tofu balls.
- 1 package (9-ounces) baby spinach
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10 ounces mushrooms, such as chanterelle, crimini, shiitake, white, or a mixture, trimmed and chopped by hand or in a food processor
- ⅔ cup shallots or scallions finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
- ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces tofu
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup dried unseasoned bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Place spinach with 2 tablespoons water in a large saucepan; cover and cook over medium- high heat until wilted, about 8 minutes. Drain and cool under running water, then squeeze out excess moisture and chop.
Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Sauté mushrooms, shallots and garlic until soft and lightly browned; stir in spinach. Season with salt, thyme (if using) and red pepper flakes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix tofu and egg until fairly smooth, then stir in bread crumbs, cheese and mushroom-spinach mixture. Form into 1-inch balls.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Arrange half of the balls in the skillet. Cook, turning with tongs, until golden brown on all sides and heated through, about 10 minutes. Heat remaining oil and cook remaining balls. Serve warm as cocktail snacks. Serves 4.
Form mushroom-spinach mixture into 1½ ounce balls (about 2 inches in diameter). Cook as described above. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups marinara sauce. Serve balls as an entrée, topped with the sauce. Serves 4 (makes 16 medium-sized balls).
Dominick’s Sommelier Susan Brink recommends Sella & Mosca 2006 Cannonau di Sardegna. The wine is smoky, earthy and redolent of dried cherries and spice, making it a perfect companion for the natural woodsy mushroom and spinach flavors found in the balls.