Tangled Branches: Satiated

riveting tales of how we sustain ourselves

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spinach, Spinach, Spinach

My experiment in overwintering spinach was successful. So successful that I've found myself eating more spinach than I have in a long time. And discovering two perfect potatoes left in the garden from last year prompted me to make Spinach and Potato Patties, or Leafy Vegetable Cutlets, as the recipe was originally titled. We like these as an appetizer or side dish or even a small meal on their own. I didn't have any eggs on hand, so decided to just skip that step, but they were difficult to turn over without breaking. (Must remember: check the fridge for eggs before beginning.) This recipe is adapted from Indian Cuisine by Omana Jacob, published by Wei-Chuan. This is an interesting cookbook - Indian Cooking for a Taiwanese audience, translated into English - but I've tried and liked many recipes from it.

1/2 lb. spinach, stemmed and chopped
2/3 lb. cooked, mashed potato (mashed by hand with no liquid added)

1 cup chopped onions
1 Tbsp. chopped ginger

1 tsp. Penzey's Hot Curry Powder
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
generous 1/4 tsp. whole fennel seed

1 beaten egg
Panko bread crumbs

Cook onions & ginger in oil until lightly browned, add spices, then spinach. Cook until fairly dry. Add potatoes, stir to mix well. Add salt to taste.

Let mixture cool enough to handle, then shape into 10 patties (about golf ball size to start). Dip each in beaten egg, then bread crumbs, and shallow fry until brown (about 2 minutes or so per side).

We like these with spicy ketchup - half Sriracha sauce and half ketchup stirred together.

One of our favorite dishes at tapas restaurants is spinach sauteed with raisins and pine nuts. We first had this at Jaleo, and they used to have the recipe online but I don't see it there now. Anyhow, that's not what I made. I used that idea for a somewhat heartier dish for lunch. This is improvisational cooking - I didn't measure anything - so I'll just describe what I did.

I thinly sliced one large shallot bulb, and cooked it just enough to soften it in some olive oil in a 12" skillet.

I stemmed and coarsely chopped some spinach leaves - enough leaves to fit in a 12" skillet comfortably, leaving plenty of room to stir them. Added those to the skillet along with a handful of mixed raisins. Stirred until the spinach was wilted and added salt and black pepper to taste.

The last bit here is what makes this a more filling dish. I sprinkled on some crumbled queso fresco, and let the heat of the pan warm it enough to soften it. By the way, queso fresco can do a pretty good imitation of a mild feta cheese, and vice versa I suppose.

Spinach Frittata was last night's supper, along with some very fresh No-Knead Bread (and one tiny radish apiece). Again, the frittata was improvised from what I found in the garden yesterday.

I stemmed and coarsely chopped some spinach leaves. I sliced the white part of one green garlic stalk thinly and sliced the green leaves into 1/2" pieces. I stripped lemon thyme and Provencal thyme leaves from their stems until I lost patience with it (not very much in other words). Sauteed all this in some olive oil and butter until the spinach was wilted. Added salt and black pepper to taste.

Beat 4 eggs and poured them over the spinach mixture and put the pan in the still-hot oven (or 350 degrees F). Cooked until the top was set and no longer glossy. This was a large pan and the eggs didn't quite cover the spinach. The result was that some of the spinach got a little crunchy, but we actually like it that way. After removing the pan from the oven, I sprinkled on some crumbled queso fresco.

I expect to get at least one more good harvest of leaves from these spinach plants before I pull them up and replace with new plants. There should be a lot more spinach cookery to come.


posted by Entangled at 9:30 AM 2 comments