Overwintered Spinach

Photo: Hannah Whitaker; Illustrations by John Burgoyne

Until the weather gets hot, it’s a good time for spinach. Fall-sown and overwintered varieties available at Greenmarket stands like Windfall Farms are the best. “The more cold weather it’s experienced, the sweeter it is,” says Windfall’s Morse Pitts. The crisp, bright-green leaves make for a fine salad, of course, but they’re also a good match for another of spring’s fleeting delicacies—ramps—as evidenced in this recipe from Tabla’s Floyd Cardoz.

Floyd Cardoz’s Sautéed Spinach and Ramps With Toasted Lentils

1 lb. spinach
1/2 lb. ramps
3 to 4 tbs. canola oil
1 tbs. urad dal (at Kalustyan’s)
1 tbs. chana dal (at Kalustyan’s)
2 tbs. mustard seeds
2 dried red chiles, crushed
2 tbs. ginger, minced
2 large shallots, minced
Salt to taste

Wash the spinach and (1) remove any large stems and discard. Wash the ramps, and cut the whites into ½-inch pieces. Cut the ramp leaves in half. In a large pot, over medium heat, warm the oil with the dals until the dals start to color. Add the mustard seeds, and cook for 1 minute. Add the chiles, and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let the dal mixture sit for at least an hour. Return the pot to medium heat, and (2) add the ramp bottoms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and shallots, and cook for 1 minute. Add the ramp greens, and turn the heat to high. Mix well, and (3) add the spinach. Season with salt, and continue cooking, stirring, until spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes. Serves 4.

Overwintered Spinach