Spinach and its many avatars

Veggie delight

Spinach and its many avatars

You have a bunch of spinach lying in your refrigerator, loath having it and don’t know what to do with it? Fret not. Spinach is not as boring as you think. The green leafy vegetable can dish up some very tasty and healthy food items beginning right from starters to main course to even dessert. Metrolife brings you some such interesting food fare made with Popeye’s favourite veggie.

Generally considered healthy, the humble spinach is extremely rich in anti-oxidants, range of vitamins like A, C, E, K, B2 and B6, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, potassium, folic acid, copper and zinc. Dheeraj Mangothra, executive chef, Drool Kitchen, informs Metrolife, “In India too, we have many interesting ways of cooking spinach other than as palak paneer or a curry. However, the problem is that we cook it so much that 90 per cent of spinach’s nutritional value is lost.”

“So, it is better to go for the Western style of preparing spinach at times. In most Western dishes, spinach is had in raw form. It is used in generous quantities in juices, salads, omelettes, in boiled and spiced vegetables and many other forms. Fresh spinach, minimally cooked, has a great taste. You can do so much with it.”

First, let’s look at some salad recipes. Take some baby leaves, put in sliced cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and grated parmesan cheese. Season with cracked black pepper, smoked paprika and garlic salt. Alternatively, you can prepare Mediterranean Baby Spinach Salad by putting in sliced boiled eggs, olives, feta cheese, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, red bell pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

When in the mood for some eggs, follow these instructions for a tasty and filling spinach omelette. Heat oil in a pan, sauté some sliced onions, pepper, spinach, garlic, spring onions and potatoes. Beat eggs with milk, basil, chives, parsley and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the vegetables, reduce the heat and cook till the eggs start to set. Top the omelette with some grilled brown parmesan and cheddar cheese.
Now how about some Spinach and Fontina Pizza? Sprinkle a baking pan with cornmeal and fit the pizza dough into it. Spread oil and garlic on the surface and sprinkle with salt. Cover with spinach and cheese. Sprinkle pepper and top it up with prosciutto cotto. Bake on lower rack in 425F/220C oven until bottom of crust is browned, about 17 minutes in convection oven and 20 minutes in conventional oven.

Also, try out chef Dheeraj’s original Spinach cake stuffed with Risotto rice and cream sauce recipe. In a frying pan, sauté oil, garlic and onions. Add risotto rice and sauté adding water gradually. When rice is cooked, add cheese, cream and season with salt and pepper. Take a cup and adjust three leaves of (boiled and iced) spinach in it. Take rice and place it in the centre of the cup. Cover it with more leaves. Heat oil in a pan and fry the stuffed spinach cakes on both sides. For sauce, fry some butter, cream, cheese, salt and pepper.

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