This is a simple and easy salad with a really big impact in terms of flavor. The rich, caramelized mushrooms in both their simple sautéed form and inside of the arancini create a meatiness that contrasts really well with the freshness of the baby spinach and simple lemon juice dressing. The arancini adds great texture, acting almost as a warm crouton on the outside and a creamy, cheese-y bite on the inside.
This serves either as a lovely light entrée or an excellent starter salad. By increasing or decreasing the size of the arancini, you can make this more or less filling. This makes an excellent weeknight meal because it comes together so quickly and uses up leftovers.
Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini over Spinach and Mushroom Salad
1 1/2 cups leftover red wine and mushroom risotto
2 1/8″ thin slices fresh mozzarella
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
3-4 tbs. canola oil
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 tbs. olive oil
6-8 cups fresh baby spinach
1 lemon, juiced
Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, combine risotto and the egg. Season risotto mixture with salt and pepper. Take about 1/2 cup of risotto mixture and form into a patty with your hands. Place mozzarella slice on the patty and press into patty. Top with another 1/4 cup or so of risotto mixture. Coat evenly with bread crumbs. Repeat one time with remaining risotto, cheese, and bread crumbs.
In a frying pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms to olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, until golden brown, for about 8-10 minutes.
As onions are cooking, add risotto patties to the frying pan with canola oil. Cook 5-7 minutes per side until deep golden brown and heated through.
As mushrooms and risotto patties are cooking, place spinach greens in a bowl.
Top spinach greens with mushrooms and then arancini. Top with lemon juice and serve immediately.