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Flavor and Tradition: Spinach

unnamedA reader asks me for recipes with spinach, those that the cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar made so fashionable in 1929, with his character Popeye, one of the most characteristic and popular in animated films. For the advertising of canned spinach, Popeye, among other things, showed off his strength. Many of those who comb gray hair will remember him.

These days – and trying to escape a bit of stress – I was looking through old books and papers, and I found a document where he refers to gourmet, a word that has different definitions.


Person fond of eating well.
Smart people in the art of gastronomy.
A person who loves to eat free.

Today that qualification is given to researchers, scholars, connoisseurs and people in general who deal with such essential and pleasant science.

Speaking with a full mouth, by Jorge L. Méndez.

In part I agree. The gourmet must be a person who knows good food, exquisite taste and must have a command from the traditional to the refined, that is, a great culture of eating; you must know where the good or bad food is. And a good palate. To be able to talk and value food, you must have at least knowledge of kitchens and stoves.

In the world, since ancient times, there have been great gastronomes and people who have dedicated themselves to writing about this topic, such as the French Curnonsky, considered one of the great crusaders of good eating, a journalist, he was an important gastronomic referee. Together with Marcel, he wrote the 28 volumes of La France gastronomique, among others. Curnonsky claimed that his taste was formed during childhood, with the food served at the house, which was regional, simple, honest and good. His name appears in the book The 1000 protagonists of the 20th century .

According to the Spanish Manuel Vicent, writer, journalist and gourmet, the real investigations arise from the scarcity. Of those infinite anonymous mothers who make works of art out of nothing. “While the dictator expired, they secretly began to recover the recipes of the grandmother and from there they went to the pots of childhood.”

Another one here in time, Jordi Cruz (two Michelin stars), says: “I know only two cuisines: the good and the bad, the one that is unique and the one that is not, the one that is made or not with the heart. I do believe that the kitchen should not live only by surprise. It would be finite. On the other hand, restaurants that cook great traditional dishes, which are very good and that people are going to eat them because they are very good and not because of surprise ”.

“The important thing is to know how to take advantage of humble products, those that are not so humble. Caviar is expensive because it is little. The sardine is humble, but well treated it is an incredible dish. I have come to Cuba to work with the products from here. I have not found a variety like the one I have in my country. But with what there is, we have made great dishes. It’s a matter of being clear: knowing how to cook and making the most of the ingredients ”.

You may wonder why so much history and verbiage, but something is clear, traditional food never goes out of style and is always tasted and enjoyed. That it does not matter not having varieties of products; what we have, know how to use it and get the best out of it. I don’t know if it is longing or what, but remember that those childhood dishes made by grandmothers are the best.

Today I bring you spinach, although it is not a highly demanded and used vegetable in our country, its nutritional value cannot be denied. I bring you a spinach sauce, spinach cream, spinach pasta, Spanish spinach and scrambled with spinach. Enjoy them.
Spinach sauce

Ingredients (various services):

A cup of spinach leaves, 1 cup of yogurt, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, pepper and salt to taste.


Wash the spinach leaves well. Put the spinach in a blender or processor, add the yogurt and beat until everything is well mixed, add the lemon, pepper and salt. Beat again a few minutes, tap well with salt and pepper and ready to use. You can use it to dress a salad or on fried meats.
Spinach cream

Ingredients (various services):

Three tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of milk or broth, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 cup of spinach, 4 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste.


Wash the spinach. Clean and marinate the garlic. Put the spinach, milk or stock, garlic cloves in the blender glass and beat. In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the cornstarch, stirring constantly and gradually pour in the spinach batter, sprinkle it with salt and pepper to taste and stir constantly until you get the cream to the desired thickness.
Spinach pasta

Ingredients (various services):

Two cups of spinach leaves, 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1 pickled cucumber, 4 cloves of garlic, ½ cup of water, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, ½ teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, pepper and salt to taste.


Wash the spinach leaves. Clean and marinate the garlic. Dilute the cornstarch in the water. Put a saucepan with the cornstarch water on the candle and turn it with a wooden spoon to make a thick cream. Reserve it.

Put the spinach leaves, cucumber, garlic and whisk in the blender glass. Once crushed, add the mayonnaise, cream, cumin, ginger, pepper and salt. Beat to mix all ingredients until a thick paste. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Put it in a lidded knob and keep it in the cold for at least an hour before use. You can use it to spread toast bread or with cookies.
Spanish spinach

Ingredients (various services):

Two cups of spinach, 2 cups of fried bread cubes, 2 tablespoons of butter, oil or ¼ stick of butter, 3 cloves of garlic, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, pepper and salt to taste.


Wash the spinach and chop it into chunks. Clean and marinate the garlic.

Put a pan on the fire with the fat to be used, the garlic, the spinach, the nutmeg, the pepper, the salt and sauté it, turning it with a wooden spoon. At the end add the fried crusts. You can eat it like this to accompany a meat or you can use it to accompany a broth.
Scrambled eggs with spinach

Ingredients (4 services):

Four eggs, 1 cup of spinach leaves, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, ¼ stick of butter, pepper and salt to taste.


Wash and chop the spinach. Clean and chop the onion into fine wheels. Clean and marinate the garlic. Put a pan with the butter, spinach, onion, garlic, salt, and let them brown well, and keep it on the fire for 5 more minutes. Lower it.

Put the eggs in a source and beat them and pour the contents of the pan, sprinkle with salt. Mix everything well with a wooden spoon.

Put the pan back on the heat and turn it with the wooden spoon until it thickens and is juicy.
Spinach and egg with bechamel sauce

Ingredients (4 services):

Two cups of spinach leaves, 4 hard-boiled eggs, 2 cups of bechamel sauce, ½ cup of breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of grated cheese and pepper to taste.


Wash the spinach. Chop the eggs in wheels. Put a saucepan with enough water to cover the spinach and bring it to a boil. When they are, turn them down and chop them into strips.

Put a layer of the bechamel sauce in a previously buttered pan, then layer with half the spinach and half the eggs. Repeat the operation and finish with a layer of the sauce, add the grated cheese, pepper and put the pan on the fire until it starts to dry and cover it with the breadcrumbs and let it brown.

(By: Silvia Mayra Gómez Fariñas/ Cubadebate)


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