The quick arrival of summer earlier this month has turned my garden into a lush paradise. It won’t be too long before my lettuce is ready. In fact, my neighber, Duane Jeffrey, already has given us a big bag from his garden. He said the key was planting it in the fall. And cherry tomatoes won’t be far behind.
One thing that is ready in my garden is the spinach. I’m looking forward to the first salad either at lunch today or supper.
With a bunch ready to harvest, I’ve been in search of recipes using the nutrient-packed vegetable. Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables such as spinach provide more nutrients than any other food. This “superfood” is loaded with protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, enzymes and fiber and is a good source of calcium and vitamins A, C, E, K and B. And researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents.
One recipe that’s caught my eye is a warm potato salad (recipe follows) that contains a generous amount of spinach. (For more potato salad recipes, go to www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/123860/.) The warm bacon dressing looks especially tasty. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Or pass on other spinach recipes that you’d recommend.
Spinach and Fingerling Potato Salad
½ pound fingerling potatoes
½ pound thick-cut bacon (can substitute turkey bacon for a lighter dressing)
2 large shallots, minced
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons minced orange zest
½ teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground pepper
½ pound baby spinach
½ cup pine nuts, toasted (see note)
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil; add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain; let cool until just warm. Cut into ¼-inch slices; set aside.
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until crisp but still chewy, 8 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels. Let cool. Chop or crumble into bits; set aside. Pour all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet; wipe clean. Turn heat to medium-high. Cook shallots until golden, 1 minute.
Mix bacon, oil, shallots, vinegar, maple syrup and orange zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Heat in microwave until warm, about 30 seconds. Toss potatoes and spinach in large bowl with dressing. Garnish with pine nuts.
Note: To toast pine nuts, place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring nuts occasionally, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
Yield: Serve 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 350 calories, 76 percent calories from fat, 30 grams fat (5.5 grams saturated), 11 milligrams cholesterol, 420 milligrams sodium, 8 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber.