Eat your greens
Some people just don’t seem to like green vegetables, but I love them, especially spinach, which is an excellent source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium. It’s also rich in antioxidants, which are believed to help prevent cancer.
However, the iron in it is better absorbed by the body if it’s eaten with a food that contains vitamin C, such as raspberries or citrus fruits. Perhaps including them in the dressing for a spinach salad will improve the body’s ability to use the folate in spinach.
Fruity flavours are perfect additions to a salad of fresh, baby spinach leaves, along with crunchy nuts, and maybe a handful of crumbled feta cheese.
I toss handfuls of Popeye’s favourite food into all kinds of dishes, from rice to pasta; stir-fry dishes to casseroles.
As a tribute to the Irish, who will likely be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, March 17, serve a little of this nutrient powerhouse this week. After all, it is green, and that’s the colour of this particular day, isn’t it?
Shamrocks are supposed to symbolize the luck of the Irish, but I’m not going to eat them—but spinach is another proposition entirely.
I’ve always found salmon and spinach a delightful combination, so I recently came up with these pretty spirals featuring both, with a crunchy, partly-cooked spear of asparagus at the centre.
We should be seeing fresh, local asparagus sprouts soon, now that spring is just around the corner.
There should also be the first sprouts of chives popping up in your garden soon, ready to snip over scrambled eggs, steak or fish.
If you’ve been enjoying this weekly food column, you may be interested in my upcoming book, to be called Jude’s Kitchen, published by the Okanagan Institute. To reserve your copy, go to: www.judiesteeves.com
Spinach Salad with Raspberry Dressing
Raspberries frozen fresh from the vine last summer will remind you of the coming summer with their piquant sweetness—in contrast to the smooth richness of the baby spinach leaves, and the crunch of chopped almonds or pecans.
4 c. (1 l) baby spinach leaves
1/4 c. (60 ml) raspberries
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. (75 ml) olive oil
1/4 tsp. (2 ml) sesame oil
1/4 tsp. (2 ml) freshly-ground black pepper
salt, to taste
toasted, salted almonds or pecans
Wash, drain, dry and toss baby spinach leaves into a large salad bowl.
Blend raspberries, minced garlic, vinegar, oils, pepper and salt until mixed well.
Spray raw almonds or pecans lightly with olive oil, dust with a flavoured salt such as one mixed with paprika and powdered chillies, and roast them in a 200 F oven for about 15 minutes. Let cool and garnish the salad with either the whole nuts or chopped ones.
Salmon & Greens Spirals
There’s lots of green in this appetizer for St. Paddy’s Day and it’s both tasty and nutritious. I used low fat cream cheese and mayonnaise as well. Simple and good-looking.
2 asparagus spears
3 small green onions
7.5 oz. (213 g) can of salmon
2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh dill
1 tbsp (15 ml) mayonnaise
1 tsp. (5 ml) lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. (60 ml) soft cream cheese
2 medium-size multi-grain tortillas
2 c. (500 ml) baby spinach leaves
Barely cook the asparagus in the microwave, so it’s still crunchy.
Mince green onions and dill; then drain salmon and mush it in a small bowl. Mix in onions and dill, mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste.
Spread cream cheese on tortillas.
Cover with a layer or so of fresh spinach leaves. Divide salmon mixture between the two, dabbing and spreading it around on the spinach.
Snugly, roll up the whole asparagus spears in the middle of the tortillas.
Slice into about 12 pinwheel appies each.
Makes about 24.