06 Aug2005

Baby spinach is the way to go if you want to consume a lot of this nutritious (mostly iron rich) vegetable. aaspin1Gone 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 that’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. aaspin2But 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), aaspin3white 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 don’t like raw onion flavor – 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.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. marie says:

    you’re absolutely right, MM! i’ve been eyeing those greens but the price is simply repulsive, or so i thought. i am going to buy some and try it out today. And i think i will top it off with shavings of parmigiano reggiano..and maybe some caramelized pecans… this is getting complicated. Oh well, why not? thanks for the wonderful tip :)

    Aug 6, 2005 | 12:37 pm

     
  2. Ann says:

    your picture looks really fresh! here in Dubai, this type od salad is always serve as a side dish in Arabic/Lebanese & Iranian restaurant for Shish Taouk (Skewered chicken pieces cooked over charcoal) and taste really great! sometimes mixed with baby arugula and seasoned with Sumac (Ground red powder from the cashew family, used as a seasoning) i love this salad!

    Aug 6, 2005 | 1:03 pm

     
  3. domokun says:

    where on earth (where in manila?) do you find baby spinach? i’ve been looking all over!

    Aug 6, 2005 | 3:58 pm

     
  4. fried-neurons says:

    Mmmm… I love spinach! I will try your salad recipe sometime. My favorite homemade spinach salad is:

    baby spinach
    shaved almonds, lighty toasted
    canned mandarin pieces
    champagne dressing (have no idea how to make this so i use store-bought)
    *if you want to add a peppery bite, toss in some watercress as well*

    Ok, now I’m hungry again.

    Aug 7, 2005 | 12:22 am

     
  5. stefoodie says:

    ooooh… on a recent post i had red onion, shrimp and mango with spinach. i think next time i’ll try the apple. nice!

    Aug 7, 2005 | 9:30 am

     
  6. Marketman says:

    Domukun they have baby spinach at Rustan’s Rockwell and I suppose Ayala Mall too. Try Friday or Saturday when their imported greens tend to be freshest. Santis also carries it occasionally. Stef, I saw that salad of yours and I HAVE to try that recipe sometime soon! Fried Neurons that sounds great… champagne dressing is easy to make if you have leftover champagne… but actually, the storebought is probably made with champagne vinegar that is made from champagne…

    Aug 8, 2005 | 8:18 am

     
  7. rocketbaby says:

    i love spinach and the nutrition it contains but it is not always available in the local wet markets. what is a good subsititute for spinach which is at least as nutritious as it is and can be more available? thanks!

    Aug 8, 2005 | 10:38 am

     
  8. domokun says:

    thanks! :)

    Aug 8, 2005 | 6:05 pm

     
  9. Marketman says:

    rocketbaby I suppose kangkong is a brilliant alternative. After all, it is also known as water spinach… They do sometimes sell spinach at the wet markets particulalry targeted at cooks of chinese dishes. These have the long crunchy stem and wide leaves. They are usually wrapped in newspaper. Leafy greens in general are nutritious.

    Aug 9, 2005 | 9:25 am

     
  10. Gigi says:

    There’s this pre-packaged greens brand called Basic Necessities that sells Spinach (not the baby kind). Can I use that instead, Marketman? How close or far-off would its taste be compared to the baby spinach?

    Where can I get caramelized or sugar nuts?

    This girl needs enlightenment,

    Gigi

    Aug 10, 2005 | 5:38 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    Gigi, the Basic Necessity spinach is a little bigger. I would use those in a wilted spinach salad instead, might be a bit grassy in a raw salad, but certainly you can try. In a wilted salad, saute some good bacon or pancetta in olive oil, throw in some thinly sliced onion, some good mustard and vinegar, salt and pepper and stir for just seconds, then put in the spinach for maybe 30 seconds and flip it over into a serving platter leaving the hot pan on top of the leaves for another 30 seconds to literally keep heat in and just wilt the leaves, it’s really good if done well. Now on sugar nuts? For what purpose? You can caramelize your own if you like, just heat up some suagr with a little water and wait till it turns a nice golden brown. Shut off the heat, throw in walnuts or pecans, stir briefly and lay out on wax paper to cool. Frankly, candied pili nuts from the grocery also works for some recipes… what are you using them for?

    Aug 10, 2005 | 6:41 pm

     
  12. Gigi says:

    I was thinking of throwing in candied nuts into a mesclun together with sweet mango cubes and then some balsamic vinaigrette. (Thanks for the spinach recipe. Would do that!) By mustard, will a Grey Poupon do?

    Aug 11, 2005 | 9:49 am

     
  13. Marketman says:

    Grey poupon would do well. Nuts and a strong cheese like gorgonzola or blue cheese would also do well with mesclun and a vinaigrette…

    Aug 11, 2005 | 10:53 am

     
  14. lojet says:

    Haven’t tried baby spinach, always liked romaine for salad, but what I do is add sliced cukes and any kind of sweet friut(canned mandarin orange segments, mangoes, halved grape tomatoes, canned cling peach) add italian dressing and here’s the clincher, top with lots of crumbled Feta cheese (it’s saltiness goes well with the sweetness of the fruits). I have to try this with baby spinach next time. Over here bagged baby spinach is always available in supermarkets.

    Oct 21, 2005 | 11:35 pm

     
  15. timmy says:

    umm. i use strawberries too instead of apples. my dressing is olive oil, lemon, (and its zest) finely chopped onions, honey and poppy seeds. can you imagine the color?

    Sep 13, 2006 | 1:54 am

     
  16. anibem says:

    My co-workers took me to a restaurant for lunch yesterday; treated me for my birthday. Here in US the celebrant gets to be treated instead of the celebrant treating her/his friends. Anyway, we had spinach salad similar to the one with pancetta, it’s an Italian bacon with black olives and some kind of dressing with poppy seeds. It was absolutely delicious. And yes, we had baby spinach.

    May 18, 2008 | 9:39 am

     
 

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