I have a bag of mature spinach in the fridge and it needs to get eaten rather soon. (I neglected to wrap it in some paper towels first, which always extends the life of leafy greens, so the leaves closest to the plastic bag are looking a little worn out.)
Since I’ve had pretty good luck asking you Dopers in the past what I should eat and how I should prepare it, I thought I’d try again: how do you, your family and friends, etc. like to prepare spinach? Note that this is the big-leafed mature kind, not baby spinach, which is what I’m far more used to using. I haven’t cooked the mature stuff in a while and can’t remember how long it needs to boil/steam, etc.
I’ve had some vague notion of sauteeing it with bacon, shallots, maybe some garlic, but was wondering if anyone had any more creative ideas. (Bonus points if your idea involves bacon.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
10 ounces fresh baby spinach, washed and chopped
3 tablespoons chicken broth (or water)
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese (Melissa d’Arabian also uses leftover string cheese)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauté pan, melt butter with olive oil. Sauté chopped shallot over medium heat until soft and caramelized. Stir occasionally to avoid burning, about 7-8 minutes.
Add chopped spinach, and toss with caramelized shallots. Add chicken broth, and increase heat to medium high. Cover pan with lid, and let spinach steam down for 3-4 minutes.
Remove lid, and add in half-and-half. Allow the liquid to reduce by a third, stirring to keep from burning.
Once reduced, turn heat down to low, and gently stir in the Mozzarella cheese until it starts melting. Add the Parmesan cheese, and stir just until it starts to melt then turn the heat off. (Note: The cheese will continue melting).
I saute it in butter, add a touch of granulated garlic, and while still hot, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
If I’m in a real slouch mood, I’ll heat up canned spinach, drain it, and add a shot of cider vinegar. My mother served it this way when I was a kid and I despised it, but the idea has grown on me in my old age. Method one is preferred, however.
I make my spinach into a spinach cheddar casserole - dee-licious!
Spinach Cheddar Cottage Cheese Casserole
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry (300 mL)
1 16-ounce container cottage cheese (475mL)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup packed grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dillweed
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Beat eggs, salt and pepper to blend in large bowl. Mix in spinach. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well blended. Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
Bake casserole until center is firm and top is golden, about 45 minutes.
I just bought some spinach to use in a variation of a recipe from a doctor’s office magazine - Indian Lamb and Spinach Curry in a Crockpot. I got frozen spinach instead of fresh baby spinach because after it’s been cooking for several hours, I doubt I’d know the difference. Also, against all protocol, I got beef instead of lamb because of picky eaters. Pork might have been a better choice, flavor-wise. I love Indian Palak Paneer and I’m aiming for that with the sauce.
My favorite way of cooking spinach is not at all. Use it instead of lettuce in a salad. I think the reason so many folks hate vegetables in general, and spinach in particular, is that they grew up eating it overcooked.
I really like throwing together a salad of spinach, sliced carrots, maybe dry crunchy noodles, chicken if you like, and other stuff you’d generally find in Thai dishes, and use spicy peanut sauce as the dressing. It is so good.
Mature spinach is better for cooking than is baby spinach. I usually cook it simply, with olive oil and lemon juice. I sometimes sprinkle it with sesame seeds.
Spinach is easy to overcook. It’s best when you cook it just to the point of wilting - more than that and it tends to become mushy and watery. Don’t add water or other liquids during cooking - spinach already has a lot of water in it, which will come out when you heat it.
Another thing: be sure to wash it thoroughly. Bunch spinach (as opposed to the pre-washed bagged stuff) can have a lot of grit in it. It’s easiest to immerse the leaves in a sinkful of cold water and swish them around.