Still using up all those lovely leafy greens and today was the turn of spinach and some beautiful looking leeks. Again thanks to Verdura, like I said a seriously good book for veggie inspiration. So I thought I'd try frittata. I have never been a huge fan. Often in cafes they seem so heavy and overly eggy it had completely turned me off frittata. My weekend at Mana Retreat converted me, as their frittata was so light and tasty I had to have seconds. So hoping that it is in their recipe book due out early November as that one will be hard to beat. However I thought I would give it a go and something different to do with spinach and leeks and a few healthy lunches ready to go for the week.
Spinach: When it comes to healthy foods spinach is a superstar. It is chocka full of of vitamins and minerals. To get spinach at its tastiest, seasonally it makes a biannual appearance in the spring and autumn.
So a bit of run down on the goodness of spinach...Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and bone health. Plus carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin that help protect against heart disease and some forms of cancer. And what's more regularly eating spinach may make you happy! It can boost your mood thanks to vitamins B6 and C. Both play vital roles in the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with pleasure and keeping depression and anxiety under control. And there is folate, best known for protecting against birth defects, but it can also help prevent cancers of the cervix and lungs and works alongside vitamin B6 to protect against heart disease.
Need further convincing of spinach's superstar status, it's also a leading source of magnesium, important for maintaining strong bones and for preventing chronic diseases like coronary artery disease and diabetes. So go on and have some spinach it really is a super power food!
Look for bright green, unwilted leaves. To store wrap spinach in paper towels and store in a plastic bag in your refrigerator's crisper. It should last three to four days.
Spinach info courtesy of wholeliving.com Great website and great magazine- super cheap to subscribe to! Fool of great recipes and everything about body and soul in balance.
Spinach Likes: eggs, chicken, fish, ham, mushrooms, potatoes, garlic, cream, yoghurt, cheese, olive oil, good vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sesame seeds, nuts, rice, pastry, citrus, nutmeg and paprika.
Leeks: They were highly esteemed in the past and many food cultures still love them. The leek is a member of the onion family and can help guard against high blood pressure and certain cancers. Seasonally they are around late spring through to autumn. Choose firm, straight leeks with dark green healthy leaves. Fresh leeks will have bright white roots. Store in fridge crisper for up to a week.
Leek Likes: chicken, chicken stock, fish and fish stock, cream, cheese (cheddar, blue, Parmesan), dill, chives, parsley, thyme, black pepper, potatoes, parsnips, anchovies, mustard, walnuts, hazelnuts.
So on the menu for lunch today Frittata di Poni e Spinaci or in boring old English Leek and Spinach Frittata. Pretty much straight from the recipe with only a minimal amount of interference from me.
Frittata di Poni e Spinaci - Leek and Spinach Frittata
1 bunch spinach
Salt and pepper
25g (1 oz)unsalted butter
3 tbsp EVOO
6-8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 tbsp Parmesan, grated
2 tbsp bread crumbs
I also added a little freshly grated nutmeg to the spinach and added a little blue cheese that was found lurking in the fridge and crying out to be used. Oh and I also had some chives so they made their way in too. I would think a little crumbled feta would also work quite a treat, actually any cheese that can be crumbled or melts would most likely be a good addition.
Trim the leeks at the root ends and cut off the green tops. Use only the lighter green and white portions. Cut the leeks in to thin rounds and place in a colander. Separate the rings and run cold water over them to remove any dirt trapped between the layers.
Trim the root ends of the spinach. Wash the spinach well in several changes of water and chop coarsely. In a large saute or frying pan place the spinach with the water still clinging to the leaves. Add salt to taste and here I also add a little fresh nutmeg, what with spinach and nutmeg being such good friends. Cook the spinach very briefly over a medium heat until it reduces in volume and is slightly wilted. Drain in a colander and very gently press out any excess water with the back of a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile heat the butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the leeks and cook over a medium - low heat until the they are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the spinach and toss for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and let the mixture cool.
When the vegetables are cool add the eggs, garlic, mint, parsley, grated Parmesan, breadcrumbs and pepper to taste. Mix ingredients well.
Heat a small non-stick, ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil and swirl it in the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Add the egg mixture and lower the heat. Cook the frittata slowly, stirring the eggs until small curds form. Stop stirring and cook until the frittata is firm except for the top.
To cook the top place the pan under a hot grill or in a preheated 200°C oven until the top browns lightly. Let it cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes. Place a plate over the top of the pan and invert the frittata on to it. Serve at room temperature, cut in to wedges.
I served it with some roasted red pepper sauce. When capsicum are in season and cheap I buy bags of them and roast them for around 40 minutes, seal in a plastic bag, peel and de-seed them. The then just add some salt and pepper and whizz in a food processor. It can be varied with the addition of some roasted garlic and a little pinch of chili - fresh or flakes. I then just freeze little bags of the sauce and then it only takes a few moments to defrost on the stove.
And on the side a simple green salad with lemon vinaigrette.
The frittata exceeded my expectations. It looks beautiful with the green marbling from the spinach and lots of layers of flavour. Sweetness from the leeks, a green tang from the spinach, then a hit of blue cheese, a little parsley and finally a fresh hit of fragrant and sweet mint. Delicious on its own but even better with a little of the roasted red pepper sauce that added a roasty sweetness and a little heat from the chili.
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