Monday, May 26, 2008

Sausage Spinach Omelette - no SOS but SSO!

Spinach is a confusing vegetable (I am confused, not the vegetable). The older I become, the more confused I get. I used to grow up knowing just one kind of spinach - the spinach (or Amaranth - this name only got to me two years ago) that is typically used to cook soup. It's kinda late for me, I know. Sounds strange (or even shocking) to you, I know too. When did the confusion start? Ever since seeing other vegetables being labeled as "spinach" in the grocery stores - Water spinach, Chinese spinach, Baby spinach.

Now, I shall use Weekend Herb Blogging - this week's host - Wandering Chopsticks - to stop myself wandering and wondering to decipher SPINACH. Bear with me if you already know spinach at the back of your fingertips - as professional as how Popeye uses his grasp of front fingertips to pop spinach out from a can...right into this mouth!

Let us start with Baby Spinach since I have used Baby Spinach for this recipe. This is a variety with flat, spade-shaped leaves that are soft and tender in texture. It is mild in flavor (do not need blanching to mellow its bitter-iron taste as in matured spinach) and the leaves and short stems can be eaten raw. In fact, eating baby spinach raw is the best way to maximize its nutritional value. Just make sure you get organic ones or rinse them throughly before having them raw. But, whichever way you choose to prepare it, baby spinach is high in fiber and delicious, on its own or in a recipe like this:

Italian Sausage and Baby Spinach Omelette

Ingredients: Italian sausage, baby spinach (rinsed thoroughly and gently dab-dry with paper towels), 2-3 eggs whisked (with some ground pepper added)

: Heat some oil in flat pan. Add in sausages and when slightly brown, slowly add in whisked egg. Allow the egg to cook on the underside, then add in handfuls of baby spinach on top. Gently press the spinach to flatten, on the egg and sausage. The spinach will reduce in volume once contact with heat. Flip the egg over and allow the egg with ingredients to cook gently on the other side.

If you like Baby Spinach raw and au naturel - a few ideas for you. You can make Spinach Pesto and stuff them into scallops; or create Finger Food. Baby spinach is great for use in salads as it has a sweeter taste, probably due to its reduced concentration of oxalic acid. If you want something more elaborate, you can use thawed frozen spinach, puree it and add a finishing touch to Braised Tofu with Mushrooms.

Then, comes the Chinese Spinach which can be sub-categorized into Amaranth (苋菜; xiancài or yin choy in Cantonese) and Water Spinach (蕹菜; wengcài). Here you have Edible Amaranth, usually cooked in broth , and frozen spinach, thawed and chopped finely, going into these homemade wontons. The options are endless, aren't they ? And did you know the Kang Kong we so familiarly know, is known as Water Spinach , or more sophisticatedly Ipomoea Aquatica? I usually like mine Sambal Belacan style , how about you ?

Eat your spinach and go...POOT! POOT! (no pun intended) ^o^

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