Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Spinach is available year-round, but the freshest, tenderest spinach is most easily obtainable in the spring.
Spinach has a high water content and so reduces to around a quarter of its size when cooked. Buy lots.
Pick dark green, thin-stemmed leaves with no signs of wilting or yellowing.
Keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for three to four days.
Give leaves a good wash in a sinkful of lukewarm water to remove any traces of grit (if bought from a farmers' market) or chemicals (if bought from a supermarket), changing the water two or three times. Drain, or dry in a salad spinner if the leaves are to be eaten raw. Cut out any thick stems.
Spinach can be steamed in the water clinging to the leaves after washing. Give them 5 to 10 minutes in a large saucepan. Sauteeing and microwaving are also good cooking methods.
Raw spinach is excellent in salads and, like watercress, has a natural affinity with bacon. Spinach also pairs beautifully with smoked haddock and with cheese, especially feta.