I recently heard a farmers’ market grower on the radio refer to spring as the “leafy vegetable season,” citing spinach—not kale, chard, or another trendier green—as one of the best veggies to buy right now. All I could think was, “Please, please, please, let a lot of people hear this and start asking for spinach so that more farmers will start growing it once more!”
I’m not talking about baby spinach, which is common as grass these days. Every year, mature spinach seems to get harder and harder to find. While I love baby spinach’s sweet tenderness and ease of preparation, I don’t love its price point or how it cooks down to next-to nothing when wilted or steamed. So, I was thrilled to find the full-grown, deep-green, large-leafed stuff at a spring farmers’ market.
Mature spinach is definitely more work. The one-pound batch I bought had to be rinsed twice to get rid of all the grit, and each leaf had to be stemmed. You need a big, non-reactive pot to cook it down. But man, is it worth it! Instead of the usual one pound to one cup ratio I use for cooked baby spinach, I got two cups of cooked spinach from one pound of mature, stemmed leaves. And oh, the flavor and texture were simply sublime! In fact, I ate the whole pot with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil for lunch. I can’t wait to go back for more so I can use it in a real recipe.