Spinach Salad

Liangban Bocai

Flavor: UniqueMeal: Easy, Cold

“When it got really hot we ate all our meals in the front courtyard,” recalls Mrs. Chiang. “It was too hot for meat dishes, and we ate mainly rice, cold dishes, and freshly picked vegetables and fruit. This spinach salad was one of our summer mainstays.”

The salad consists of some briefly cooked spinach bathed in a sauce containing ginger, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and hot pepper flakes in oil. Because the hot pepper flakes are optional, this can be either a hot cold dish or a mild cold one. The only trick in its preparation is to make sure that the spinach doesn’t cook too long; it should be bright green.

Method

Preparation and Cooking

8 cups water, approximately Bring the water to a rapid boil in a large pot.
1 scant pound fresh spinach Wash the spinach well and break off and discard the tough stems.
1 teaspoon peanut oil When the water is boiling, add the oil to it and then the spinach. (The oil helps keep the spinach green.) Cook the spinach for 3 minutes only, and without waiting for the water in the pot to return to a full boil. Drain the spinach immediately and put it in a serving bowl to cool.
½ -inch piece fresh ginger Peel the ginger, then chop it very fine, until it reaches the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Add to the spinach.
2 scallions Clean the scallions, then cut them, both green part and white, crosswise into little pieces, about ⅛ inch wide. Add to the spinach.

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes in oil (optional)

Add the sugar, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and optional hot pepper flakes in oil to the spinach and mix thoroughly.

Serve the salad either lukewarm or, if you prefer, chilled.

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