This is an attractive salad for a summer’s day, the tomato brilliant against the rich green of the cooked spinach. Although it is dressed with both powdered dried shrimp and fish sauce, there is no fishiness to it, just a pleasing depth of flavor. The fried shallots give a hint of sweetness.
Wash the spinach thoroughly in several changes of water. Place in a skillet or wide heavy pot over medium-high heat, cover tightly, and cook until the spinach is wilted and just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, pressing out as much water as possible, and set aside to cool. (You will have about 2 cups cooked spinach.)
When ready to proceed, coarsely chop the spinach and place in a shallow serving bowl. Add the chopped tomato, dried shrimp powder, roasted peanuts, and fried shallots, then add the shallot oil, fish sauce, salt, and chile powder or cayenne. Toss lightly to mix. Squeeze on a little lime juice if you wish, just before serving.
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