If you’re of a certain age, you almost certainly know that the sailor Popeye owed his bulging muscles to spinach consumed straight from the can. Spinach really is super-healthy so don’t hesitate to pass the strength legend on to your kids or grandkids. But actually, fresh spinach is the better (and an easy) base material.
And if your assistant cooks remain reluctant, here is a recent story to help make your case: As Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard toured the White House garden, he held up what appeared to be a spinach leaf and said, “This is as raw as it gets right here, out of the ground.” He took a bite and said, “That’s good!”
Courtesy of "A White House Garden Cookbook" by Clara Silverstein. Red Rock Press.
|2 pounds baby spinach||2 tbsp olive oil|
|4 shallots||salt and freshly ground pepper|
|2 garlic cloves|
Wash and clean the spinach. Peel and mince the shallots. Peel and mince the garlic. Place a large bowl of water near the sink, and put a few ice cubes in it. Place a colander in the sink.
Fill a medium-sized pot with water. Sprinkle in some salt. Place it on the stove and bring it to a boil over high heat. Carefully add ½ pound of the spinach (about ¼ of the leaves) to the water and let it boil for just 30 seconds to 1 minute (this is called blanching). The leaves will turn bright green!
Carefully pour the spinach and water into the colander to drain the spinach. Then immediately “shock” the spinach by putting it right into the ice water. Use tongs or a fork to handle the spinach---it will be hot. Let the spinach sit in the water for a minute or so, then drain it again in the colander. Squeeze the spinach with your hands or press the spinach against the colander with the back of a spoon to remove the excess water.
Place the spinach in a blender and puree. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until the shallots no longer look white.
Add the rest of the spinach leaves. Toss them with a spoon and sauté until the leaves are wilted. Add the pureed spinach and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
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