Not only does Popeye love his spinach but it seems the rest of the world does as well. Point-in-fact, spinach is ranked as the #1 favorite vegetable in the world! In the United States alone, spinach is a crop which rakes in over 175 million dollars per year. Not to bad for a leaf anyone can grow at home!
So, why is spinach considered one of nature's wonder foods? Good lord, why isn't it! Let me run down just some of the nutrients packed into each little leaf: Vitamins A, B2, B6, B9, C, E, K, calcium, potassium, zink, selenium, phosphorus and loaded with fiber. If that isn't enough, the phytonutrients in spinach fight various cancers and aid in cardiovascular health (that's your heart).
If you happen to be a fan of Italian cooking you might have noticed that most dishes deemed as "Florentine" contain spinach. Why? Because it was the favorite food ingredient of Catherine de Medici (Queen of France) and she ordered it served with every dish!
One of my favorite dishes to preapre with fresh spinach hails from Thailand. It is very simple to prepare and can be used either as a side-dish or an entree. It does have a little heat to it, thank to the use of a Thai pepper but hey, this is Thai food and it should have some zing!
Ingredients needed to make Thai Tossed Spinach with Chicken (serves 4):
- 2 Tbs. peanut oil
- 1 chicken breast, boned, skinned and minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ pounds spinach, washed, stemmed and chopped
- 1 ½ Tbs. nuoc mam (Asian fish sauce)
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 ½ Tbs. chopped unsalted peanuts
- 1 Thai pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
- In a medium sauté pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the spinach, nuoc mam and black pepper. Cover the pan and cook 5 minutes.
- Add the peanuts and Thai pepper, toss to coat and then serve.
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