June 17, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Spinach
Like a lot of folks of a certain age, I grew up watching Popeye the Sailorman and loving every minute of it. But something baffled me: the spinach thing. If they were talking about the reeking, droopy, plop of who-knows-what that they served in school, it didn't make any sense. My parents told me Popeye was the creation of the powerful spinach industry, but that may not have been true. Research reveals that Popeye was not created to sell spinach, but the cartoon's creators remembered their mothers saying, "Eat your spinach, it will make you strong!" So it became Popeye's magic elixir.
Modern American spinach got its start here in Maryland when the D. Landreth Seed Company introduced the Bloomsdale Long variety in 1826. The variety is the default cultivar of spinach even today. Buy it in its young baby form for salads, or work with the mature plant.
Al's Spinach Emilio-Romagna
12 pounds of baby spinach, washed
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs dried lavender flowers, crushed
salt and pepper
1. Working in batches and using a strainer, blanch the baby spinach by immersing it in simmering water for no more than 30 seconds. Drain the spinach and set aside in a bowl. Repeat until all spinach is cooked.
2. In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil over a low flame. Add the spinach and stir it vigorously, coating all of it. Sprinkle the lavender, salt and pepper over the spinach, and toss. Serve immediately.
**The Radio Kitchen Featured Buy of the Week**
Fresh green peas are in the market now. The easiest vegetable in the world to cook. A minute in simmering water is all it takes. Toss with a pat of butter, salt and pepper and you have one of the best treats of springtime.