Chilled Sesame Spinach

This is my favorite recipe so far in Summer 2009. (Yes all you purists, I know it is not officially summer yet. But I consider it summer as soon as you can start eating dinner outside, so there. ) Anyway, this perfect little summer recipe starts at one of my favorite places in the world:

There it is, a-gleaming in the sun.

The apples!

The lemons! The limes! The tomatoes! Okay, snap out of it. We are here for spinach. This recipe calls for 2 pounds of spinach washed and trimmed. It may be a little more expensive but I promise you that it is worth every last penny to buy baby spinach. It doesn’t have all the sand in it, and there are very few stems to trim. My Fairway (yes, it is MINE!) has baby spinach in a big bin so you can scoop out as much as you need. I like a lot of spinach. The Southern husband likes a lot of spinach. The teenager likes exactly no spinach. The dog would probably eat the plastic bin they store the spinach in.

This recipe takes exactly five minutes once you have all the ingredients out, and then I pop it in the fridge while we are making whatever goes with it. This time we grilled some chicken and sliced it thin, and by time that was all done the spinach was perfectly chilled.  

Ah, summer.  Welcome back.

Chilled Sesame Spinach
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 pounds spinach, washed and stems trimmed
  • 1½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1½ tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
  • 1/1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons rice wine (rice wine? I used white wine. tasted just fine)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water, set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil, season with salt. Add spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain immediately in colander and plunge into ice water.
  3. Let spinach cool completely, about 30 seconds, drain again. Using your hands, squeeze excess water out of spinach. When you think you are done squeezing, do it one more time. Spinach is absorbentstuff. Transfer to cutting board.
  4. Coarsely chop spinach and place in medium bowl, set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and wine. (I do this while the water is boiling). Add dressing and sesame seeds to the spinach, mix to combine.
  6. Spinach may be refrigerated for up to 2 days. I, however, have trouble not eating it between mixing in the sesame seeds and putting it on the plate, that's how good it is. If you love spinach, that is.



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  1. says

    This is very similar to a korean dish – if you add garlic and if you subtract the rice vinegar, rice wine. Anyone trying this that previously hated spinach usually loves this preparation because it is so much more fresh and tender than your traditionally overcooked spinach. The sesame oil and sesame seeds adds a nutty depth and richness to the dish. Just a warning – one person can consume many pounds of spinach because once it is wilted and rung out, it is 1/10th of its original volume! Very delicious and very healthy – a staple at my house!

  2. says

    Thank you so much, I will definitely try it this way next time! (and, agree with you about the volume, I am always shocked at how so much raw spinach cooks down to so little!)


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