Today is National Spinach Day.

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2012/03/26 01:04:41 (permalink)

Today is National Spinach Day.

Today is National Spinach Day. Spinach was first grown in what is now Iran about 1500 years ago. It spread to all parts of the world, almost immediately replacing other green leaves wherever it went. Spinach is among the most healthful and delicious of all those we eat. It's rare among them in that it's eaten raw as often as cooked. Its flavor is distinctive but not strong. The younger the spinach, the more tender the leaves and better the flavor.

And then there's the Popeye connection. From it we learn that eating spinach turns funny-looking pipsqueaks into powerful heroes. That's because of its reputed but overstated iron content. Popeye continues to inspire the eating of spinach, enough so that today in 1937, farmers in Crystal City, Texas--the spinach-growing capital of America--put a statue of Popeye in its town square.

An astonishing thing happens when you cook spinach. Few foods shrink as much when you cook it. You can put a whole bag of fresh spinach on top of a pizza, for example, and it will bake down to a thin green layer. The best way to cook spinach is in a pot over a medium heat, with only the water that clings to the leaves after you wash it. And wash it you must, because few vegetables carry more dirt than fresh spinach, although a lot of that has been solved by pre-washed, bagged spinach.

Chefs love spinach and have created many dishes with it. The most famous New Orleans spinach dish is oysters Rockefeller, even though the original version at Antoine's doesn't contain any spinach. It's also a major part of eggs Sardou. Spinach comes in many international dishes--Greek spanakopita, Indian saagwala, Italian and French florentine dishes, and omelettes, pastries, sauces. Why? Because when spinach is in a dish, it becomes more popular than it would be without it.
From Tom Fitzmorris
So, what's your favorite Spinach dish and let's see some recipes???
My favorite is Emeril's Creamed Spinach and a Spinach Souffle
Creamed Spinach
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001
4 servings
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.
Melt the butter in medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
Spinach Soufflé
1 bag (16 oz) frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour (all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup milk
2 tablespoon very finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, fresh is best
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Thaw spinach in a colander; squeeze well to get as much moisture as possible out.
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 1-quart soufflé or casserole dish.
Heat butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. When butter has melted, add flour; stir until smooth and bubbling. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. When mixture is thick and boiling, remove from heat. Stir in the finely chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the nutmeg.
In a metal or glass mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks have formed. In a separate bowl, beat yolks until frothy and lemon colored.
Stir egg yolks into the sauce mixture; stir in the spinach.
Stir about 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the spinach mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture.
Pour into the prepared soufflé dish; set dish in a large pan then add water to a depth of about 1 inch.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The top will be lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.

3 Replies Related Threads

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    Re:Today is National Spinach Day. 2012/03/26 09:46:08 (permalink)
    I love spinach and like it cooked very simply, in hot olive oil with chopped garlic and hot pepper flakes.  We just had it the other night with broiled cod topped with seasoned crumbs......delicious!
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    Re:Today is National Spinach Day. 2012/03/26 16:23:18 (permalink)

    I love spinach and like it cooked very simply, in hot olive oil with chopped garlic and hot pepper flakes.

    Ditto. I also like frozen, then nuked with some cider vinegar on it. Probably one of my favorite side dishes. I always make that when I do a roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, the little bit of vinegar that mixes in with the gravy on the plate is awesome.
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    Re:Today is National Spinach Day. 2012/05/18 10:46:32 (permalink)

    Some of the best local Diners will serve it (free) when seated...instead of a bread basket.
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