Saturday, July 07, 2012

liver-cleansing balls

A friend on twitter linked to this list of 14 foods that cleanse the liver. The timing was uncanny... after a road trip that was based mostly on brewery visits through cheese country, my liver was in dire need of a good scrubbing. I was determined to make balls using as many of the foods on the list as I could. Spinach balls have been on my to-do list for a while, so I started there as my basis, because leafy greens are great for your liver (and most of your other parts). In all, I got 6 of the 14 recommended foods into these bad boys.

They turned out great! Very tender and flavorful, they would make a great appetizer simply dipped in yogurt, or in a pita sandwich. I made a simple vegetable soup with even more liver-friendly foods from the list (cabbage, cauliflower, carrots) and ate some of the balls with that. In one dinner I managed to get 9 of the 14 liver-cleansing foods into my gullet! 

Liver-Cleansing Balls 
-5 cloves garlic, chopped (FOR YOUR LIVER!)
-1 shallot, chopped
-1 Tablespoon olive oil plus about 1 cup for pan frying (FOR YOUR LIVER!)
-2 teaspoons turmeric (FOR YOUR LIVER!)
-2 teaspoons curry powder
-1/2 teaspoon granulated ginger
-1/2 teaspoon coriander
-about 8 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped (FOR YOUR LIVER!)
-4 cups whole wheat bread crumbs (I toasted some oat bran bread and whizzed it up in a food processor) (FOR YOUR LIVER!)
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts (FOR YOUR LIVER!)
-3 eggs
-salt and pepper to taste 
Cook the garlic and shallots in a skillet in 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil until just soft. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the spinach and cover. let spinach slightly wilt for just about 2 minutes or so. Add spinach and garlic mixture to a food processor and chop fine. Add the walnuts and pulse until incorporated. Add this mixture to a bowl with 2 cups of the breadcrumbs and the eggs. Season and mix until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.  
Put the remaining 2 cups of breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or bowl. Use a melon baller to scoop the spinach mixture (it is a pretty loose dough, you will need to practice gentleness) into the breadcrumbs. Gently press the crumbs around the balls of mixture, form with your hands and set aside. Repeat until all of the spinach mixture is used (makes about 4 dozen).  
Coat a skillet with about 1/4 inch of olive oil and heat. Cook the balls in the olive oil over medium-high heat, using tongs to gently turn them until all sides are golden brown and delicious. Remove to a paper towel-line platter and cook the rest of the balls in batches, being careful not to crowd them in the pan. Add more olive oil when needed. Serve warm with Greek yogurt.

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