Last week, I wrote about Italian Wedding Soup, using the last of my spinach from the garden.
Spinach is a cool-weather, short-season crop and won’t appear at local farmers markets again until fall. As with most food items, fresh spinach is available year-round at the supermarket.
Little is known about the history of spinach. Its origins predate existing records. It may have been bred from spinacia tetranda, a wild green found in Nepal, although some accounts say it originates in Persia or modern-day Iran. In 647 A.D., spinach was introduced in China as the “Persian green.”
Somewhere between 800 A.D. and 1200 A.D., spinach was introduced to Spain by the Moors of North Africa. By the Middle Ages, spinach was grown and sold throughout Europe. By the 1400s, spinach was a well-known ingredient in Mediterranean cooking.
Catherine de Medici was a fan of spinach. When she left Florence to marry into the French royal family, she brought cooks to prepare her favorite spinach dishes. Foods featuring spinach, especially those served on a bed of spinach, are known as “a la Florentine,” named in Catherine’s honor.
Cultivation of spinach in the United States began in the early 1800s. Today, spinach is a green that is eaten throughout the world.
Spinach Dip is a very nice appetizer to serve at summer parties. It is easy to make and takes little time to prepare.
4 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 tablespoon water
2/3 cup sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon onion soup mix
1 green onion, chopped
Assorted crackers for serving.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine spinach and water. Cover and microwave on high for 45-60 seconds until wilted. Drain. Cool and squeeze dry.
In a small bowl, combine water chestnuts, sour cream, mayonnaise, soup mix, onion and spinach. Chill for at least 1 hour.
Serve with crackers.