Zazulete Ynn Anuca Romanța Ion
I love the cold, the snow, the awakening air of winter!
But as it crawls in, we do feel this hunger for light, for vitamins, for strength. Maybe not yet, maybe winter is too young for us to long for the sun hidden in colors of fruits and vegetables, but this is one of the most important times of the year when we need to pack our cells with bricks of health and inner anticold furs helping us to be out there and enjoy snowball fighting until the birds come back, like the inherent kids we are.
Speaking about kids, you may have hated it when you were a little one, but spinach is an all-seasons favorite, a bundle of health, a superfood. In my country, we usually eat fresh spinach in spring, cooked with tomato and lemon juice, which makes it very refreshing and tasty, and ever since I was a kid myself, I have associated the taste of spinach with lemon and even find it funny to eat it without the citrus flavor. Lemongrass is an adulthood discovery (not being common as herb or ingredient in Romanian cuisine) and I had this idea it must compliment what I know and love about spinach very well, the way I've known it. l love the result and I hope you will enjoy it too.
1 kg frozen (chopped) spinach
1 large onion
1 small (or half) leek
1 medium garlic head
1 small (or half) red pepper
a mixture of olive and vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar (I used spicy vinegar) or the juice of 1 small lemon
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp dried lemongrass
1 tsp curry
200 ml tomato purée
1 1/2 tbsp organic (dehydrated) vegetable powder mix
Serving it with a premium (melting) cheese.
1. Dice the veggies (onion, garlic, leek, pepper).
2. In a pot, heat the mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil (sunflower oil). For all processes, you will use medium to high heat.
3. When hot, toss in the diced veggies and stir every few minutes.
4. If you feel they brown too quickly (especially the onion), add about 100 ml of water.
5. Six minutes into cooking, add the spinach and mix well with the stir fried veggies.
6. Add 100 ml of warm water and mix it into the pot.
7. Now it is time to add the vinegar. Mix it well in the spinach.
8. A few more minutes and you can add the soy sauce, together with the lemongrass, curry, dried vegetables powder and tomato juice.
9. Let it cook for a few more minutes and taste it (cool it on a spoon first). It should taste good (no additional salt needed for this dish). But if you feel it's necessary, adjust the saltiness and sourness with a little bit more soy sauce and vinegar (or lemon juice).
10. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook on medium to high heat for about 20 minutes, while stirring now and then.
Spinach is good with everything. Hot or cold. As independent, singular dish or as side dish, but also as spread on crackers or toast, for a healthy lunch or breakfast, or as the green part of your favorite sandwich combination.
I suggest you try this spinach dish with a quality matured cheese, as I did now with the fine Romanian Trascău cheese, a variety of mature melting cheese. Instead, you can use a Gruyère, raclette, parmesan, Brie, Gorgonzola, Cheddar or Gouda cheese, as an opportunity to turn this healthy dish into a cheese tasting feast. No one stops you from tasting more than one cheese. Cut the cheese into small slices or cubes and spread it on the spinach while still hot, so that it can melt a little.
Be strong this winter! Like Popeye the Sailor Man!
Cover photo: Thao Uyen
A melting pot experience, in more than one way. Welcome to our Epicurean adventure!