Among the world’s healthiest vegetables, spinach comes out at the top-ranking list for nutrient richness.
Rich in vitamins and minerals, it is also concentrated in health-promoting phyto- nutrients and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.
When shopping for spinach, choose the bright, vibrant-looking leaves. They are not only more appealing but are more nourishing as well. Recent research has shown that in season spinach leaves that look fresher also have greater concentrations of vitamin C than leaves that are pale in color.
Try the following recipes that make use of those wonderful leaves for a rich brunch or a light, tasty dinner.
POACHED EGG ON A BED OF SPINACH AND FETA CHEESE
Makes 4 This is a perfect brunch dish.
✔ 100 gr. butter
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 600 gr. Turkish or regular spinach leaves
✔ 4 Tbsp. feta cheese
✔ ½ cup vinegar
✔ 4 eggs Mix water with vinegar in a deep pot and heat until boiling.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a deep skillet and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Add washed spinach leaves and sauté until the leaves wilt but still retain their green color. Remove from heat, crumble the cheese and mix in with the spinach. Divide equally among four serving plates.
When water is boiling, remove from heat and carefully break an egg into the water.
Wait 1 minute and remove carefully from water using a slotted spoon and place over the cooked spinach. Repeat with the rest of the eggs and serve immediately.
FRESH SPINACH SALAD WITH GOAT'S CHEESE
✔ 400 gr. young small baby spinach leaves
✔ 50 gr. roasted walnuts
✔ 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
✔ 1 cooked beetroot, peeled and cut into small cubes
✔ 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 1 goat’s cheese roll (Fromez or other), cut into 8 slices
✔ 4 Tbsp. canola oil
✔ Nuts for garnish Wash spinach leaves and towel dry.
Place in a large salad bowl. Add apples, beets and nuts.
Heat a skillet with oil. Coat the cheese with breadcrumbs on all sides and fry lightly until crumbs are golden. Remove from heat and let cool on a paper towel.
In a jar, shake together salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice, and season the salad. Toss and place the cheese medallions on top.
Garnish with nuts and serve.
For an elegant meal, divide salad among 4 plates and place 2 pieces of cheese and nuts on each plate.
SEA FISH ON A BED OF SPINACH
✔ 4 portions of meagre or other fresh sea-water fish (about 180 gr. per person)
✔ 2 kg. Turkish or regular spinach
✔ 2 onions, thinly sliced
✔ 3 Tbsp. + 4 tbsp. olive oil
✔ 4 Tbsp. sour cream Heat oven to 180°.
In a large deep skillet, brown onion in 3 Tbsp. oil. Add the spinach, cover and cook over very low heat, mixing occasionally.
The spinach is ready when the color turns black and all the liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat, let cool and grind the spinach with a hand blender or in the food processor.
Spoon the spinach onto the serving plates.
Place fish on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. olive oil on each piece and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 180°. for 10 minutes until cooked through.
Place fish over the spinach on the serving plates. Add 1 Tbsp. of sour cream to each plate and serve.
VEGAN SPINACH STEW
✔ 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2x2 cm. cubes
✔ 2 parsley roots, peeled and cut into 2x2 cm. cubes
✔ 1 cup dry white wine
✔ 2 cups hot vegetable broth or water
✔ 250 gr. Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and coarsely chopped
✔ 1 cup cooked chickpeas
✔ 400 gr. Turkish or regular spinach
✔ 6 strings saffron
✔ Salt and white pepper
Heat oil in a wide pot, with a matching lid. Sauté the onions; when they turn golden, add carrots, parsley root, Jerusalem artichoke and liquid. Cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Add saffron, salt and pepper, cooked chickpeas and spinach and cook over low heat until thick and cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.
Chef Orel Kimchi, co-owner of Popina, an innovative restaurant in Neveh Tzedek in Tel Aviv, offers modern and creative cuisine cooked in an open kitchen. Popina’s menu is divided into sections according to the preparation method – steaming, roasting, slow-cooking or pickling – rather than the usual appetizers and main dishes.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Popina, 3 Ahad Ha’am, Neveh Tzedek Street, Tel Aviv, (03) 575-7477.