Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big and strong like Popeye

Did anyone ever actually believe that? I can't imagine there were many kids who went running to their Mothers, going "Mum, Mum, can we have spinach for tea so I can be like Popeye?" Kids can be pretty gullible sometimes, but they're not stupid.

Spinach may not give you massive Popeye-like muscles the moment you eat it, but there's no doubt it's good for you. So, when I was looking for some foliage to serve on the side of a reheated beef olive, I decided on spinach salad (p179).

I should have looked more closely at the recipe, because it's really a light meal rather than a side salad. As well as the spinach, this salad includes mushrooms, spring onion, orange, bacon, hard-boiled egg and flaked almonds. Though the recipe uses a bunch of normal spinach, I opted for baby spinach as being nicer for salad, and also available from the bulk salad bins so I could buy only as much as I needed.

The other ingredient in the salad is french dressing (p183). It's really a standard vinaigrette, which means it's 75% oil. Since I'm not keen on oily dressings, I altered the proprotions of oil and vinegar to 50/50. It was quite nice, but I'd still be just as happy with my low-fat shop-bought dressing. That, however, is merely a personal preference.

Of course, the oil in the dressing is monounsaturated, which means it's a 'good fat'. That's one argument for keeping the vinaigrette. On the other hand, I take the view that, while heart-healthy fats are to be preferred, it's best to try and keep the total fat content down. Just because it's 'good fat' doesn't mean you should eat lots of it - it's still fat! Remember the food pyramid? No? Check your Edmonds book.

The basic assembly of the salad is as follows: throw your spinach, chopped mushrooms, sliced spring oinions, segmented orange and cooked bacon together in a bowl (You're supposed to chill it at this point, but I didn't, and it was fine). Shake up the dressing ingredients in a jar, and toss through your salad. Then garnish with chopped hard-boiled eggs and toasted almonds.

Two pieces of advice: boil your egg(s) first. Don't get to the end and realise you still need cold hard-boiled egg. Also, don't get an egg out of the fridge and just set it down on the bench while the water is heating: The egg will roll and smash in the sink. Trust me on this.

Also, unless you have bought ready toasted almonds, you'll need to toast them in a frypan. It doesn't take long, and makes them nice and crunchy.

Absolutely try this salad: It's really good. With the bacon, egg and oily dressing, it may have more fat in it than the average green salad, but if you are eating it as a meal it's not bad really. Eggs are actually good for you, and a small amount of bacon goes a long way in a salad.  If you stick to lean bacon and low-fat dressing, it makes for quite a healthy meal.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for salads. Sounds very scrummy.c


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