Blanched Spinach

The first time I ever bought and cooked spinach was in my very early days at the Old Compton Wine Bar. In those days it was not necessary to order food from wholesalers; half an hour wandering round the innumerable food shops and a stroll up Berwick Street market would yield everything necessary for lunch. This neophyte chef did not know how much spinach collapsed when cooked, or how dirty it could be and time-consuming to prepare. One small carrier bag full was expected to yield enough spinach for a busy lunch: it fed three people. The advent of bags of ready-to-cook spinach has changed all this, increasing the consumption of this delicious vegetable tenfold.

Ingredients

  • 1 × 500 g bag prepared spinach
  • salt and pepper
  • butter

Method

Fill your kettle and bring to a boil. Empty the spinach into a colander and place in the sink. Give the spinach a quick rinse under the cold tap and shake a little to settle it down and drain it. Pour the kettle of boiling water slowly over the spinach, giving it a little toss as the hot water drains off it and out of the colander. Give another toss, leave for 2 minutes and rinse under cold water. When refreshed and completely cold, squeeze the spinach dry and form into two balls. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until needed. If you wish to serve the spinach plainly boiled do not refresh with the cold water, simply allow to drain, then season with salt and pepper and a little butter.

Uses for Blanched Spinach

If well squeezed, the spinach is ready to be used as a tortelloni stuffing. Rapidly fried in a little butter it is a delicious accompaniment to nearly all fish dishes, and most meat or poultry ones too. Use as a bed for the Spigola in Cartoccio.

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