Spinach has many uses. The quickest and most effective way of cooking it would be to wash it under running water, then prise loose the green leafy bits from the stems, put it in a pot on the hot plate without adding water, and allow it to steam in its own water until very well wilted. In this form it is ready to be mashed together with boiled potatoes and onions, which is a rather traditional way of eating it which we call 'green mash'. Green mash is greatly improved with the addition of just salt, pepper and a generous knob of real butter.
Fresh organically grown spinach is a delight to eat raw, especially where it is the main ingredient in a salad such as the famous Caesar's salad.
Spinach can be steamed, boiled (briefly as described above), braised, stuffed, stir-fried, and eaten raw.
The stems, especially when colourful and beautiful, are cut in lengths and steamed seperately and served with just butter as a seperate side dish.
Fennel, orange and spinach salad
Thinly slice some fresh spinach leaves into half cm strips and if they are still very fresh and crunchy the stems can be used as well, just slice them nice and thin. If you use rainbow spinach you will have colourful pink and yellow bits to add interest to your salad.
Clean your fennel bulb, slice very thinly, and add to the spinach.
Now peel an orange with a knife so that the segments are exposed, and working over a bowl to catch the juice, pare out the segments from the skins leaving a 'skeleton' which you can squeeze to get the last bit of juice. Add the segments to the salad, and add a generous dollop of olive oil to the juice in the bowl. Also grind a generous amount of salt and pepper in, and beat well to mix. (If you are using free running table salt be careful not to make it too salty, I use sea or desert salt flakes or course desert salt which needs to be ground. Pour this jus over the salad, toss and allow to stand. The orange juice will 'pickle' the tough spinach leaves and fennel so leave yourself an hour or two before the meal for the process to happen.
Delicious with a simple fried meat dish, bacon, sausage, chicken breast strips, chops, steak ...
Creamed spinach quick and easy
Directions (Martha Steward). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Add cream cheese and milk; cook, stirring, until cream cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in spinach.
I prefer to steam my spinach or cook as described above without any water added and also, you don't have to be hampered by not having cream cheese handy. If you have cream or milk to add, just grate cheddar or all the bits of leftover brie, camembert, blue or whatever from your last cheese platter into the mix.
Super quick stirfried spinach:
Fry onion and garlic in olive oil, add spinach, serve with feta as a side. Optional extras that make it into a standalone meal: fried bacon bits, diced chorizo or diced leftover braai meat.