Even as a kid, I never needed Popeye to convince me that spinach is delicious and good for you. I like them as a veggie stir fry, in soups, quiches, tarts and salads. Strangely enough, I've never actually eaten or seen the stalks of spinach since moving to the UK. All the packets of spinach that I see at the supermarkets only have leaves - what happened to the stalks?? I love the stalks and leaves in a stir fry (spinach stir fried with garlic, mmm...) and I miss the crunchiness of the stalks.
On another note, apparently the smell of frying bacon is the one thing most likely to turn a vegetarian back to eating meat. Other than featuring in a fry-up for breakfast, or in a sandwich (BLT, bacon and brie), bacon can also be very useful as an ingredient. Its salty and intense flavour go well with plainer ingredients and really liven up a dish.
In this case, I have combined bacon and spinach in a vegetable side dish. Am I making the spinach less healthy or making the bacon more healthy? Who knows, but it sure tasted good. This might also be a way to convince your friends or kids who don't like spinach to give it a go.
Ingredients (serves 2):
1 rasher of bacon, finely chopped
150g spinach (or however much you like. Remember spinach will wilt and shrink A LOT when cooked)
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pan and fry the bacon bits until they are slightly brown and starting to crisp at the edges. Then add in the washed spinach and cover the pan with a lid. Leave for a minute for the spinach to steam and reduce in bulk. Remove the lid and stir the lot until the spinach has just wilted. Remove from heat immediately and serve.
This takes all of 5 minutes. It also works well with chopped up chorizo sausage with its strong flavour. Just remember not to use too much bacon or chorizo because they are very salty. No additional seasoning is needed.
Note: Spinach releases water when cooked. I sometimes just leave the excess water in the pan when dishing up if I want a dry serving. I have also done a 'wet' spinach stir fry where I left the liquid in with dish as a tasty stock base. Just remember not to overcook spinach to avoid turning it into a slimy pulp, which is what turns many people off spinach in the first place.