June 3, 2011

Thinning Spinach: A Chore into a Salad

When I plant spinach seeds in early spring, I sow them thickly to be sure enough will germinate; a bonus is having the tender sweet young spinach thinnings for delicious salad lunches. When the leaves are 1 to 3 inches long, I begin to pull some plants, leaving the others about 2 inches apart, so they'll grow to maturity happily.

Today, the chive blossoms have begun to open, so I picked some; their florets are tasty and add a sparkle of color in a green salad.

Here is the salad I had for lunch today: spinach with croutons and feta cheese. I love home made croutons in a spinach salad, so I cut a slice of homemade bread into squares and fry them (I know I know, baking would be healthier, but I adore the taste of the fried) in a little olive oil until golden, turning them to brown all sides. I add them, along with crumbled feta cheese, to the spinach and chive blossoms which have been dressed with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you like garlic as much as I do––and I think it goes well with the sweet spinach––grate a large clove into the salad. I no longer use a garlic press because I find the Microplane fine grater is easier to use. Add salt and pepper to taste, but with the garlic and feta and the balsamic vinegar, I find I need little if any salt. When later in the season I make a salad with more mature spinach, I take a suggestion from Deborah Madison in her Greens Cookbook: wilt the leaves by tossing with heated olive oil. It's all delicious, a healthy treat from the spring garden.


  1. Oh Altoon you have all the gorgeous flavours here! And the colour! I love that you have the creamy fetta with the crunchy croutons, heady chive blossoms and garden greens. Heaven!
    Carolyn x

  2. Carolyn, it really does seem like heaven sometimes; the meals from the garden are a joy.

  3. Yes I wonder sometimes - how much better could heaven be?

  4. Oh, so happy we are to eat the fresh spinach from the garden, sprinkled with chive flowerettes...divine! Yes, i like my croutons fried too, much richer in flavor.

  5. Maggie, I'm glad you're with me on the fried croutons; what a treat! along with spinach and other vegetables soon to come.

  6. You rarely show a dish that does not make me salivate. You have such a well-developed palate — judging by your recipes — but you do simplicity better than anyone I know. Looks gorgeous and I'm sure tasted just as good as it looks. I agree that the croutons should be fried.

    I am growing a chive called Forescate which has pink flowers when they open. They fade to lavender but it is much larger and distinctly different plant than the usual chive which is growing a few feet away.