Practical Advice – Storing and Using Spinach

spinach

Our organic spinach from Fletching Glasshouses is brilliant to have in the kitchen for more than just taste reasons.  The leaves are larger than baby spinach but not as large as the huge mature broad leaf.  This is a godsend in that it’s pretty versatile as it’s mild enough to shred in a salad but also robust enough to wilt – which is pretty hard to do with baby leaves.

Anyway you care to use it…it’s freshly picked when we deliver so we couldn’t possibly waste such a lovely bag of nutritious goodness!


How to cook spinach

The best way to cook spinach is to wilt it gently.  Just be careful not to overcook and lose the vibrant green colour and rich flavour.

Method

1.  Clean the spinach thoroughly to remove any grit from the leaves. Heat a large pan with a knob of butter
2.  Add the spinach – the leaves touching the base of the pan will wilt very quickly, so stir occasionally to ensure all of the raw leaves make contact with the base. Season with salt
3.  Once the spinach has just about wilted, remove the pan from the heat and strain off any excess liquid. Serve immediately.

How to store

A bag of slimy wilted leaves is pretty offputting.  Obviously, the best thing in the kitchen is to use up greens as quickly as possible to make the most of their nutritious benefits – but given that it isn’t always possible, you can extend the life with careful storage.

Here is a link to storing spinach with The Kitchn which gives you tried and tested results using different storage methods.  We love these blogs where people give really useful tips!  NB – this is why our leaves are always sold in plastic bags.  Not because we don’t have environmental concerns but but because even freshly picked leaves can dry and wilt while we are driving around the Sussex roads in the few hours from picking if they are put into brown paper bags.

saladgreens


 Alternative Ways to Use Spinach

There are loads of regular ways to use spinach…sauteed, soups dah di dah… But here are some more ways that may well be useful if you’re looking to add more greens to your diet…

Torta Pasqualina – OK this is a little late for Easter, but a delicious spinach, artichoke, parsley and egg pie is a perfect dish for either a vegetarian main course or even picnic slices (if the rain stays away).

torta-pasqualina1
Picture: http://www.misya.info/2014/04/01/torta-pasqualina.htm

Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette – It’s the vinaigrette made from a little of the melted bacon fat mixed with a red wine vinegar glaze that makes this so special.  This is a salad haters salad!


Quick Quesadillas – these are our daughter’s favourite snack from school and she can cook a pile of them in minutes.  Keep them healthy by using feta cheese and avoiding the sour cream.  Combine with a strawberry salsa for full antioxidant benefits.


Puree spinach and add to pancake batter for super-healthy pancakes.  They genuinely go with sweet fillings like banana and blueberry so if your kids are up for green pancakes, these really do work.


Spinach and aromatic herbs are perfect partners.  Combining with sage and parmesan makes this a perfect quick supper dish as Spaghetti Piemontesi

spaghettipiemont


Again, strong flavours work well with spinach and these little Creamy Smoked Haddock and Spinach Omelette Appetisers would work equally well left as longer wraps as part of a main course.

smokedhaddock


When our daughter was small, we kept pureed spinach in ice cube trays in the freezer and added it to just about everything.  We lost the habit as she got older and ate adult food but it’s a great way to add extra iron, vitamins and minerals to a dish quickly and without any hassle…whatever you’re cooking…pasta sauce, soups, stews etc.


Add to scrambled egg or scrambled tofu.  The flecks are pretty and it adds earthiness to any breakfast dish…and a bit less washing up than making a traditional Eggs Florentine.


Use pureed spinach as a pizza topping instead of tomato.  Just as delicious and a perfect partner for rich cheese melted on top.  Try this spinach garlic puree or even a spinach pizza base…(just don’t let anyone see the raw dough…it looks amazing cooked, but raw…really not a good advertisement for a delicious dough.


 

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www.finandfarm.co.uk

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Practical Advice – Storing and Using Spinach

Lavish Veggie Wellington

Even this picture conjours up everything that is totally delicious in terms of veggie food.  A rich mix of herbs, robust veg and delicate pastry gives that right amount of chewiness you need from a vegetarian main…and a variety of taste.

VeggieWellingtonlarge

It’s the crunch that breaks most veggie resolves – delicious satisfying textures that are hard to achieve in non-raw vegetarian cooking.

It’s also a great alternative to a goat’s cheese based dish as you can load this with gravy – and not knocking tomato sauces, but sometimes nothing but gravy will do.

Anyway, this recipe is a lavish Wellington rich in seasonal ingredients that will be growing richer and leafier on the Sussex farms all winter long…using kale, spinach, potatoes and good servings of herbs that are all at their prime.

Serving 10 it’s a good group recipe and taken from the Great British Chefs blog, as been well tried and tested.

Ingredients

Veggie Wellington

Ingredients: Serves 10

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked
  • 1 sprig thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 100g chestnuts, peeled and chopped, optional
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 10g butter
  • 250g button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 200g curly kale
  • 200g spinach
  • 50g opine nuts
  • 500g puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 pinches salt
  • 2 pinches pepper
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

Herby mash

  • 10 large Maris piper potatoes
  • 175g half fat crème fraîche
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chives, chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
2. Add the sweet potato to a large roasting tray with a good splash of olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil
3. Using a pestle and mortar, bash the rosemary and thyme lightly for 1-2 minutes to release the flavour. Scatter over the sweet potato with
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves picked
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves picked
4. Cover the tray with tin foil and place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes until soft. Remove and allow to cool.
5. Meanwhile, place a saucepan over a medium heat and add a dash of olive oil. Once hot, add the onions along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
6. Gently cook the onions, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly browned
7. Add the crumbled chestnuts to the pan and cook for further 2 minutes
  • 100g of chestnuts, peeled and chopped, optional
8. Toast the bread until dark and golden and drizzle with a small dash of olive oil. Tear into small chunks and set aside
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil
9. Add the torn toast to the pan with the onions, stir to combine. Stir in the lemon zest and remove the pan from the heat
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
10. For the mushrooms, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until all the liquid from the mushrooms has cooked off and they are soft
  • 10g of butter
  • 250g of button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
11. Squeeze in a little lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the contents into a blender and blitz into a paste
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
12. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Tear the kale into small pieces and cook for 2 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for another 30 seconds. Drain and set aside
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 200g of curly kale
  • 200g of spinach
13. In a bowl, mix the kale and spinach with the pine nuts, a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 50g of pine nuts
  • 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
14. Now assemble your Wellington. Roll out the puff pastry on a sheet of baking parchment until approximately 30cm x 40cm, then spread the mushroom mixture on top
  • 500g of puff pastry
15. Toss together the spinach, squash and onion-bread mixture. Spoon it in a thick line down the middle of the pastry, leaving a gap at either side so you can join up the edges of the Wellington
16. Hold one side of the baking parchment and lift it, with the pastry, towards the centre of the Wellington so the filling is half covered
17. Peel the baking parchment back, leaving the pastry in place, then repeat with the other side. The pastry should overlap in the middle
18. Beat the egg with the milk and brush it over the pastry to seal the join
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp of milk
19. Fold up the ends so the filling doesn’t leak out, then carefully roll the Wellington onto a baking sheet, with the seal underneath. Brush all over with the remainder of the egg mix
20. Bake for 45 minutes until puffed up, golden brown and hot through the middle
21. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for approximately 12-15 minutes or until tender
  • 10 large Maris piper potatoes
22. Strain and allow to steam for 5 minutes. Tip back into the pot and mash together with the light crème fraîche, butter, salt and pepper
  • 175g of half fat crème fraîche
  • 25g of butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
23. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the chives and parsley
  • 2 tbsp of parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of chives, chopped
24. To serve, slice up the Wellington and serve on a bed of the herby mash and your preferred vegetarian gravy
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Lavish Veggie Wellington