Friday, April 17, 2009
Friday morning I volunteered to help harvest the season's first spinach at Growing Home, an urban farm initiative in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. They currently sell their beautiful greens at Green City Market and to various chefs around town.
Spring spinach is bright, more tender and flavorful than winter spinach and well worth your time to search out. Here are some ideas on how to use it:
Salad - Tear pieces of tender spinach in a bowl with a chopped avocado, bacon, shaved red onion, and feel free to toss in goat cheese, blue cheese - your choice. A boiled egg is nice and if you like crunch, add toasted breadcrumbs or croutons. Mix 2 parts olive oil to one part red wine vinegar (or more to taste), a bit of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a jam jar and shake like crazy. Toss with salad.
Soup - throw ripped up handfuls of fresh spinach directly into your soup of choice - just heat through and eat. you're adding beautiful flavor, vitamins and iron without work.
Greek Odyssey - Sauté ground lamb or ground dark meat chicken in a small amount of olive oil in a pan, add a touch of cumin and paprika, chopped garlic, salt and pepper - cook through. Throw meat in a lavash or soft pita with fresh spinach leaves, some chopped mint and parsley, red onion, feta and a hearty squeeze of lemon and more olive oil if needed. I also love the homemade parsley tahini sauce at Middle East Bakery in Andersonville - that would be a gorgeous addition.