I live in a country where summer is saturated with a wide array of vegetables and fruits, making it a wonderland for those who love to snack on almost anything raw. But when you think of winter or colder countries in general, you might bypass vegetables altogether or simply eat them less often. Here are some yummy ways to get our vitamins and to keep our digestive system happy in the middle of winter.
Onion-like leeks are one of my favorite winter-ish vegetables, so much so that I like to chop them up and freeze them to use throughout the year. They're great to add to a soup or for one-pot stews. One favorite of mine is another thing that usually is eaten in winter: hamsi, also known as the Anatolian anchovy.
Make it like a huge pancake or in smaller portions, this recipe will surprise you with how well it works together.
Gut and debone the hamsi and let them rest a bit in water. Meanwhile, clean your leeks thoroughly and chop them into small pieces. Drain the hamsi and let the fish drip dry. Add the leeks and hamsi into a bowl and then crack the eggs into the mixture. Slowly start adding flour. You should get a thick dough consistency that slowly falls off a spoon. You might need to add more flour or an additional egg depending on the ingredients you have, as different qualities of flour make for different consistencies. Fry spoonfuls of the batter on both sides in small batches or make one huge fritter – whichever you prefer. Serve warm or cold – for some reason I prefer to eat it cold as it seems to have a more interesting flavor overall.
Many eat spinach throughout the year thanks to high-quality freezing techniques but years ago, you didn’t have the luxury of just going and getting some when you felt like it. Spinach doesn’t have much of a unique or strong flavor – which is the reason why you can make green cakes with it without having any weird flavor in the dessert – but that doesn’t mean it is lacking any flavor at all. It really depends on how you prepare it. One annoying thing about buying spinach fresh is the sheer amount of dirt. So washing the spinach just once won’t do. Wash once and then let it rest in water to get that dirt loose and rinse a couple of times. That usually does the trick. And speaking of tricks: The roots are just as edible as the leaves of the vegetable. If you don’t want to mess with the consistency just set the roots aside and cook them with a bit of tomato paste, some onions and about a handful of bulger and let it simmer until they have cooked through. It made for a delicious little snack that can most definitely be used as an entre if you so desire.
I am a sucker for pasta. It might not be the most complicated or fancy dish but the sheer possibilities of combining the pasta with other ingredients make it really interesting. This simple dish is a favorite of mine as it is really easy to make and tastes divine! This works great if you have pasta leftovers as well, just adjust the amount of spinach, etc. to taste.
Toast your pine nuts over low heat until they take on a light brown color – this might take a couple of minutes – and set them aside. Prepare your desired pasta according to the instructions and get to making the sauce in the meantime by roasting the finely chopped garlic on low heat with a bit of vegetable oil until it turns a light brown. Start adding the spinach bit by bit, the volume of the leaves will dimmish as they cook. If needed you can add a bit of the pasta water to speed up the wilting of the spinach. Continue until you have all the spinach in the pan and season it with salt and nutmeg. Add the heavy cream and turn the heat low and let it simmer until it starts to thicken a bit. Add the drained pasta and let it cook together for a minute or two and turn the heat off.
While serving you can add some parmesan or other crumbly cheese over it to give it a bit more of an edge.