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Everyday Food: Four ways to get your leafy greens

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Green eggs and ham omelet

Serves 1

• 2 cups tightly packed curly- or flat-leaf spinach, trimmed and washed (3 ounces)

• 2 large eggs, room temperature

• Coarse salt and ground pepper

• 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

• 2 tablespoons sharp cheddar, shredded

• 2 thin slices deli ham

1. In a small nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon water over medium-high. Add spinach and cook, tossing, until completely wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a colander to drain, pressing out as much water as possible. Finely chop spinach; transfer to a medium bowl along with eggs. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper.

2. Return skillet to heat and melt butter, tilting to coat pan; add egg mixture. Cook, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula, until eggs begin to thicken, about 30 seconds. With spatula, pull edges of omelet in toward center, tilting pan so uncooked eggs flow underneath. Cook until just set, about 15 to 30 seconds.

3. Arrange cheese and ham on top of omelet. With spatula, fold omelet in half. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving: 430 calories, 27 grams fat (13 grams saturated fat), 40 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 57 percent of calories from fat.

Spanakopita

Serves 8

Cut into small squares and served at room temperature, this savory Greek pie makes a terrific hors d’oeuvre.

• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish

• 4 bunches curly- or flat-leaf spinach (about 3 1/2 pounds total), trimmed and washed

• 1 3/4 pounds leeks (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed well and sliced crosswise

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• Coarse salt and ground pepper

• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 24 sheets frozen phyllo dough (from a 16-ounce package), thawed

• 3/4 cup crumbled feta (4 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a pastry brush, brush bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with oil. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup water over medium-high. Working in batches, add spinach and cook, tossing, until completely wilted, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain, pressing out as much water as possible. Return skillet to heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add leeks and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in nutmeg. Transfer spinach and leek mixture to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped.

2. Cut phyllo sheets to fit baking dish. Place 1 sheet in dish (keeping remaining sheets covered with a damp towel) and brush lightly with oil. Stack 7 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each with oil. Spread half the spinach mixture over phyllo and evenly sprinkle half the feta on top. Add 8 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with oil. Spread with remaining spinach mixture and feta. Top with remaining 8 phyllo sheets, brushing each with oil.

3. Bake until phyllo is golden and crisp on top, about 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional information per serving: 388 calories, 21 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat), 11 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 49 percent of calories from fat.

Spinach mac and cheese

Serves 6

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1/2 cup minced yellow onion

• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

• 4 cups whole milk, room temperature

• Coarse salt and ground pepper

• 2 bunches curly- or flat-leaf spinach (about 1 3/4 pounds total), trimmed, washed and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips

• 5 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (2 cups)

• 3/4 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions

1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden and has a slightly nutty aroma, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, add 2 cups milk. Add remaining 2 cups milk, raise heat to medium-high and whisk until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly, until sauce comes to a boil, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 13 to 15 minutes.

2. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted, about 2 minutes. Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving: 511 calories, 20 grams fat (11 grams saturated fat), 24 grams protein, 60 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 35 percent of calories from fat.

Spinach and pear salad with lamb

Serves 4

• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 1 tablespoon minced shallot

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• Coarse salt and ground pepper

• 4 lamb shoulder chops (3/4 inch thick; about 1 1/2 pounds total)

• 5 ounces baby spinach (or curly or flat leaf, trimmed), washed

• 2 small ripe pears (or 1 large), such as Anjou, thinly sliced lengthwise

1. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, shallot and 3 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper and cook until medium-rare, about 10 minutes, flipping once. Transfer to a work surface and loosely tent with foil. Let rest 5 minutes, then cut away from bone and thinly slice.

3. In a large bowl, toss together spinach and pears. Divide among four plates, top with lamb and drizzle with dressing.

Nutritional information per serving: 431 calories, 31 grams fat (9 grams saturated fat), 23 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 65 percent of calories from fat.

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Cooks classify this good-for-you green three ways: Curly-leaf spinach has crinkled leaves; flat-leaf spinach, often sold frozen or canned, has smoother leaves and a slightly milder flavor; and baby spinach is simply the flat-leaf type harvested when very young and tender. Spinach is low in calories but high in vitamins C and A. It’s also rich in folate and riboflavin.

Both curly- and flat-leaf spinach are sold in bunches and bags, and baby spinach comes prepackaged or loose. Refrigerate spinach in a plastic bag; it spoils quickly, so use it within a couple of days.

Baby spinach doesn’t need to be trimmed, but you’ll want to cut off the tough root ends of curly- and flat-leaf spinach. Always wash spinach, even when it’s labeled “prewashed”: Submerge it in a bowl of cool water to dislodge any grit, then spin dry.

Baby spinach is wonderful lightly steamed or used raw in salads. Mature curly- or flat-leaf spinach has thick stems and leaves and a stronger spinach flavor, so it’s best when cooked. Sauté it with garlic in olive oil, add it to a stir-fry, toss it into a soup or cook it in a little water until it wilts, then stir into a warm pasta dish.

Everyday Food magazine offers quick, healthy solutions for everyday meals from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. For more recipes and additional tips, visit www.marthastewart.com/everydayfood. Questions or comments about the column should be sent to everydayfood@marthastewart.com.

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