I get together with friends for a monthly book club, which is really more of an excuse for snack pot luck. Sure, we discuss the book, but we also nosh happily on the food offerings, which (this time) included chocolate rum cake, crab dip, pita and hummus, a cranberry cheese log, raspberry brie wrappers, and ginger snaps, among other tasty snacks. I have learned to eat light and healthy before book club.
This is the dinner I throw together if I know I’m going somewhere full of tasty (though not terribly nutritious) snacks: a small amount of protein, served alongside a large amount of greens. Sometimes it’s as simple as a fried egg over a salad of mixed greens, with salt, pepper, and maybe a sprinkling of cheese (I like my eggs runny, so I just pierce the yolk and let the yolk and cheese flavor the greens). Last night it was half of a salmon patty (K got the other half) and a generous helping of stir-fried spinach.
The salmon patty was from the freezer section at Costco; it’s 100% wild Alaskan salmon, and incredibly easy to prepare. You just pry a patty from the tube and pan-sear it for 4-5 minutes on each side, and it turns slightly crispy on the outside and wonderfully savory. It provides a lot of nutrition and flavor for minimum effort, and we make them last longer by sharing a patty between us.
The spinach was also from Costco, in the fresh veggies section; we got a giant bag of baby spinach (it was too big to fit in the refrigerator drawer) but spinach cooks down like nobody’s business, so it goes quickly. Give your spinach a quick rinse and spin in the salad spinner and it’s ready to go.
I think this mini-dinner came together in under ten minutes, easily. To make a “real” dinner out of it, just add some starch, in the form of pasta, rice, bread, or potatoes.
Four generous handfuls of baby spinach leaves (enough to fill a medium-sized wok), rinsed and spun dry
Sesame oil, to film the wok
Garlic powder (or a clove or two of garlic, minced)
Red chili flakes
Soy sauce or Maggi seasoning, if you have it
Pour a small glug of sesame oil into the wok, just enough to film the surface, and heat over a medium flame. Add a pinch of red chili flakes, crushed in the palm of your hand, to the oil. If you don’t have a wok, a high-sided saucepan is fine. If using minced garlic, heat the garlic in the oil as well.
When the oil is hot, add the spinach, as well as a generous sprinkle of garlic powder (if using), two or three generous glugs of oyster sauce, and a glug of soy sauce (or Maggi). Toss gently to combine; don’t worry if it doesn’t get on all the spinach. Cover the wok for two minutes. Then uncover the wok and toss the spinach until all of it is wilted and has some seasoning on it.