Seasonal Cooking 13 Jun 2010 06:52 pm
I tend to be an after-work snacker. This is potentially a bad habit – if I’m too hungry to wait for dinner, I’ll reach for something quick. And quick food, very often, is unhealthy food. So I like to have something on hand that’s both ready to eat not too bad for me.
This ricotta spinach spread fits that bill pretty well. I’m lucky that my neighborhood has a handy supply of excellent, fresh ricotta, made by nearby cheesemakers, and to this simply I add spinach that I’ve destemmed, steamed, squeezed dry, and chopped. I flavor the mixture with freshly grated parmesan, salt & pepper, sometimes basil or oregano, and sometimes a pinch of grated nutmeg. A dab of this spread on a slice of good Italian bread will keep me on my feet until I can have dinner on the table.
To steam the spinach, I simply pack all the leaves into a 2 quart saucepan that has an inch or so of water in the bottom. I cover it and put it on medium heat just until the spinach is wilted – only a minute or two after the water start to boil. When it’s cool I gather it into a ball and squeeze out as much water as I can. This method is very handy, and the resulting ball of spinach is easy to chop and mixes nicely into lots of different preparations. The problem with it though is the green water that’s left behind. I’m sure It’s full of spinach nutrients, and I feel bad pouring it out, but I can’t quite bring myself to drink it as Michael Pollan admonishes I should do. Is there some recipe I can use it for?