Here is my first small harvest. Bloomsdale slow-bolt heirloom spinach. Spinach is perfectly happy in early spring -- so I was able to plant mine in April. Really, my plants aren't quite ready for harvest, but I wanted to make a certain soup that required spinach. I didn't have any on hand so I decided to go outside and take a few larger leaves of some of the larger plants and thinned a few plants that were too close to one another (I always struggle to thin a perfectly good plant). I ate some leaves right out of the garden after a quick rinse and they were delicious! Isn't it beautiful?! It's not too late to plant your own. Just sow right into your garden. And, because they like the cool weather you can plant in the mid-late summer for a fall harvest.
Now for the recipe ... The soup recipe if from a book titled Seriously Simple by Diane Rossen Worthington. If you don't have a copy you should race out right now and go and buy one. It is fabulous. The soup is Lima Bean, Zucchini and Spinach. It is a lot better than it sounds. It is yummy and healthy. Here it is:
2 T olive oil
3 leeks white and light green parts, cleaned and thinly sliced (I didn't have leeks so I used one large onion)
4 zucchini, thinly sliced (I didn't have any so I used the crown and part of the stem of the typical bunch of broccoli that you'd find at a grocery story)
2 C fresh or frozen Lima Beans
4 C vegetable broth or chicken broth (I used 2 C chicken broth and 2 C water b/c that's what I had)
1 six ounce bag of fresh spinach leaves
1 T fresh lemon juice (I used the zest too ... why not?)
S and P to taste
1/4 cup sour cream (I used half and half b/c that's what I had on hand)
1/4 C freshly grated parm cheese
In a large saucepan heat olive oil and saute leeks for 3 minutes. Add zucchini and saute for 7 minutes. Add the lima beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add spinach, cover and cook another 3 minutes. Puree the soup in the pot with a hand blender (if you don't have one - run out and get one right now, cheap and so much easier to use than other options). Add lemon juice, S & P. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and swirl a spoonful of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese into each serving. Yum. Yum. Yum.