Baby spinach is the way to go if you want to consume a lot of this nutritious (mostly iron rich) vegetable. Gone are the days when you have to ingest totally dead (overcooked) and possibly creamed spinach in Popeye style in order to build up your muscles. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) originated in Persia (Iran today) and was cultivated as early as the 4th century. Its English name is derived from the old Persian aspanakh, according to Alan Davidson in the Oxford Food Companion. The three most common ways that I like spinach are in a wilted or fresh spinach salad, in a middle eastern vegetable side dish that is actually rather sweet and cold (forgot what thatâ€™s called) and in ravioli with some ricotta cheese. I found this wonderful pile of fresh baby spinach at the grocery so I decided to make a salad for lunch yesterday.
At PHP649.00 a kilo (USD5.30 a pound!) this would at first glance appear to be nose bleed material. But a little goes a nice long way. I bought just 100 grams that made 2 very generous sized salads or three adequate starter portions. Add the other ingredients and the total cost of the salad was about PHP100 or just PHP50 for each large portion. I have not seen a similar salad in a Manila restaurant and if it was I bet it would cost at least PHP190 or more. See how ridiculous the prices that you pay in restaurants are compared to making your own? Other ingredients for my salad are one crisp golden delicious apple, 1/8 of a small red onion and a tangy honey mustard vinaigrette.
First make the dressing. In a bowl whisk together some mustard (Dijon or grainy is good), white wine or sherry vinegar, salt, olive oil and just a touch of honey. Add salt and pepper and whisk to mix. Cut one golden delicious apple into thin slices (with skins left on) and a few slivers of red onion (soak in cold water and squeeze beforehand if you donâ€™t like raw onion flavor â€“ local reds are stronger than western ones) and toss in the dressing. Take your washed, spun, chilled and ready baby spinach and put it in a salad bowl, add the apple and dressing mixture, toss and serve immediately. This goes great with a pasta dish or a heavier meat dish.