Main Ingredient - Ruby Red Orach
Looking to add a new green to your salad? Stop by the Spenard Farmers’ Market this coming weekend, find Steve Cinelli of Four Tern Farm, and buy a bag (or two) of his ruby red orach.
Despite this being our first encounter with it, orach (Atriplex hortensis) isn’t new, in fact it’s actually pretty darn old. This cool season plant has been harvested from the wild and enjoyed around the Mediterranean and as far north as Siberia for thousands of years. People often compare orach to spinach (in fact, it’s also known as “mountain spinach”) and it can be used interchangeably, but with much more interesting results.
We added rinsed orach leaves to a simple garden salad; there’s no easier way to bring a little wow factor to dinner. Not only is orach a showy purple stunner, it’s got a unique minerally flavor so stick with a simple vinaigrette and let the orach shine through. And who doesn't like the chance to introduce a new ingredient to your friends or family.
Try using orach in any recipe where you’d normally enjoy spinach - a simple soup (how about cream of orach?), risotto, or simply sauteed in butter with garlic. Orach’s bright purple color will definitely come out, so if you are cooking it, think pink.
Here’s a another great idea (and a recipe for you to try), cook up some cheese ravioli, saute your orach (and other spring veggies) and toss it all together for an easy Pasta Primavera.
Have ingredients lying around that you're not sure how to use? Maybe you're stuck in a weeknight dinner rut. Send your questions, ideas, and kitchen conundrums to info@edibleAK.com.