"Spinach is one of our most valuable vegetables. It contains salts and is slightly laxative. In order to retain all the nutritive value and the salts in the spinach it is best to cook in a steamer. It should be cooked just long enough to be tender, which is from ten to fifteen minutes. Spinach, if cooked too long, will lose its flavor and color."
Thus writes an able authority upon dietetics. In three sentences we have here condensed the cardinal rules for preparing this queenly esculent for the use of the human animal. Opposed to one clause of the summary we have the story of a noted epicure who found spinach so much better when warmed up for the thirteenth time that he ordered his cook to cook it thirteen times on the first day of serving.
Pick over the spinach, rejecting all yellow or dried leaves. Wash in four waters, letting it soak in the last cold bath for three-quarters of an hour. Put into a large pot over the fire with just enough cold water to cover it. Cook for twenty minutes, or until tender. Drain in a colander, then turn into a wooden chop-ping-bowl and chop very, very fine. Return the spinach to the saucepan, stir into it a great spoonful of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Mound the spinach on a hot platter, and garnish with slices of hard-boiled eggs.
Pick over and wash the spinach as in the last recipe. After soaking in the fourth water, put the leaves, with the moisture still clinging to them, into a large pot, and cover closely. The moisture on the leaves and the juice of the vegetables will form enough liquor to prevent scorching. Cook for twenty minutes, stirring well several times during the process. Sprinkle with salt and turn into a colander to drain. Press out the liquid, turn the spinach into a chopping-bowl and chop as fine as possible. Cook together in a saucepan one tablespoonful of flour and two of butter, and, when they are blended, pour the spinach upon them. Season and cook for several minutes, stirring constantly. Pour upon the spinach a small cupful of cream in which a pinch of soda has been dissolved, and cook three minutes longer, still stirring. Now add pepper and salt to taste and a pinch of nutmeg, and beat hard for three minutes. Serve smoking-hot, garnished with small triangles of toast.
Boil as in the former recipe, chop "exceeding small," and beat in a tablespoonful of melted butter, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Set aside until cool, then stir in a gill of cream, the whipped yolks of two eggs and the stiffened whites of three. Beat hard and turn into a deep, greased pudding-dish. Bake for twenty minutes, and serve at once.
Boil the spinach and chop fine. Add the beaten yolks of two eggs, a tablespoonful of melted butter, salt and pepper to taste. Set this mixture away to cool. When cold, beat into it a half-gill of cream and the frothed whites of three eggs. Turn into a buttered pudding-dish, and bake quickly in a hot oven to a light brown. Serve as soon as it is removed from the oven.
Boil the spinach, press out every drop of water and chop fine. Cook together in a saucepan a tablespoonful of butter and two of flour. Add the spinach with pepper and salt to taste; cook for five minutes. Butter the insides of muffin-tins or pate-pans, and press the spinach hard into these. Set in the oven to keep hot while you make a white sauce. Carefully turn out the forms of spinach on a hot platter, lay a slice of hard-boiled egg on the top of each form and pour the white sauce around it.