Food Matters, Killington

A dressed-up side full of flavor

Lighter fare is in season every summer. Salads may dominate menus, while vegetable-rich side dishes can dress up barbecues, brunches or outdoor buffet meals.

Spinach not only packs a nutritional punch, it can add flavor to any dish. According to Judy Joo, a French-trained Korean American chef and author of “Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food” (White Lion Publishing), mature spinach has a heartier, meatier texture than its baby variety. Mature spinach is the star of the show in this recipe for “Seasoned Spinach,” a nutritious side dish with a delicious dressing.

Seasoned spinach 
Serves 4 as a side dish


  • 1 pound mature spinach with stem and roots
  • Sea salt

Dressing ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sagwa-shikcho (Korean apple vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
  • Black pepper, freshly ground


  • Fill a large saucepan with water, salt well and bring to a boil. In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath.
  • Rinse the spinach with cold water to remove any dirt, especially around the roots. Remove any hairs from the roots. Cut the spinach into 13⁄4-inch-long pieces, keeping the purple roots intact. Split the roots in half horizontally and keep separately.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  • Blanch the spinach in two separate batches. In the boiling salt water, blanch the spinach stems with leaves until just wilted, about 1 minute, remove the spinach from the water and plunge in the ice bath. Repeat with the spinach stems with roots, but cook for 1 to 2 minutes before plunging into the ice bath. Remove from the ice bath, drain well and gently squeeze out any excess water.
  • Gently loosen the clumps of spinach with your fingers and transfer to a bowl. Toss well with the dressing. Cover and chill for about an hour to allow the flavors to mellow before serving.


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