Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spinach with eggs

It is CSA (community supported agriculture) season, and we find ourselves eating a lot of vegetables with eggs. Sorry to sound like an advertisement, but there really is nothing like very fresh veggies cooked with farm fresh eggs. Today for breakfast, it was spinach with eggs: more spinach than eggs, and very tasty and easy. The hardest thing about it is washing the spinach, but worth it since good fresh spinach is some much better than the bagged prewashed stuff. See notes below on spinach, washing etc.

Spinach with eggs

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium-large finely diced shallot
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 pound spinach, large stems removed, washed well, and cut into shreds
  • nutmeg
  • 4-6 eggs, the fresher the better
  • large handful of grated grana padano cheese (about 1/2 cup or more to taste, see note below)

  1. Melt butter in a very large nonstick skillet. ( The spinach may shrink, but it takes up a lot of room at first. ) Add shallot, sprinkle with salt, and saute until soft but not brown.
  2. Add the spinach and cook over high heat until wilted and most of the liquid is evaporated.
  3. Season with pepper and a few scrapings of nutmeg.
  4. Beat the eggs until well combined, and add a pinch of salt.
  5. Add to the spinach, and cook over medium heat until done to your liking. Mix in the cheese and serve warm.
  6. That's it. Serves 2-4 depending on the number of eggs and your appetite.
Grana padano!?: This runs about $2-3 dollars a pound less than good Parmesan, and I always looked down my nose at it as a low quality knockoff. However, eating at the Savoy in Soho, the waitress informed us that their chef has been experimenting with using Grana instead, and has even come to prefer it. So a few weeks ago I started buying Grana, and it is quite good, with a nutty, caramelized aroma. Besides, the savings helps when my daughter, the cheese wizard, is at home. I think she can go through 2 pounds of Parmesan or more a week, but likes the Grana well enough, and this adds up to significant savings. But, today she just informed me that she doesn't find it as nutty. It was nice while it lasted.

Spinach: There is no question that the pre-washed bagged spinach is convenient, and if you want to use it for this dish, go ahead. I have made it before myself with the baby leaves straight out of the bag. But the real thing is much tastier, and not that much more effort. They key to washing spinach and other greens is not to run water over them, which doesn't do much good since it just leave the grit trapped in the crevices, but to soak the greens in a large bowl, tub or sink of water and swish them around and leave them sit a bit. Lift them out of the water, drain and rinse your receptacle, and continue until there is no more dirt. This year, the farmer at our CSA seems to be doing something so that the greens and veggies are cleaner and take less time to wash. This is a relief, because washing our share was almost a part time job. (Interestingly, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago about the spread of supermarkets in India, and how one obstacle was the tendency of the markets to wash their vegetables, while the consumers considered the dirt a sign that they were farm fresh!)

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