Spinach

(Recipe #5, pages 49 – 50)

Wash carefully picked-over spinach three or four times in plenty of water, best done in a deep crock. To preserve its green color, cook it uncovered just 8–10 minutes in water at a rolling boil, with salt added. Then refresh it immediately in cold water, drain it through a colander, press it firmly with a slotted spoon, and chop it fine. Next heat some good suet, stir in powdered zwieback or a little flour for a while, and add the spinach along with nutmeg and some butter. Stir frequently, adding salt if needed, and cook thoroughly, adding meat stock or water as necessary.

At a fancier meal, you can serve a nice dish of spinach surrounded by medium-hard whole eggs set next to each other with the narrow end up; between the eggs set pieces of deeply reddened tongue cooked until tender, preserved with salt and saltpeter and cut in the shape of a cockscomb. Or cover the dish with narrow strips of white bread browned in butter, topping it with fried eggs, or garnish with hardboiled eggs sliced lengthwise into 8 pieces. Fry the potatoes instead of boiling them as usual.

Preparation time: ½–¾ hour.

Omelets, cutlets, braised veal, charcuterie, roasted and smoked ox tongue, fish fritters, breaded haddock tails, kidney toasts, pork sausages, ham-filled blintzes as side dishes.

Note: If you plan to cook canned beans the next day, it is a good idea to save and use the water the spinach was boiled in, because the beans will become tender much more quickly.

Translated by David Green.

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