I know—waterchestnuts, like those damn eels dragged in from the St. Lawrence, now clog our lovely but already problematic lake. And, because of the condition of the water, I’m not suggesting using waterchestnuts from the lake.
But fresh waterchestnuts have a taste unlike anything else—forget the canned stuff. The fresh taste almost like apples. (If you wanted to substitute a nice sweet apple, who’d complain? But after dicing, as below, cover with water with a tsp white vinegar to keep the color attractive.)
I used to do this when I first became a caterer, but it’s a fairly expensive dish for maybe 50 people. However, this recipe should nicely serve 6 to 8 guests. Who will be happy.Jerry Weinberg
- 1 pound spinach (fresh, washed, and cleaned)
- 12 water chestnut (fresh, peeled)
- 2 teaspoons light soy (or 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper (ground)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon honey (or sugar, maple syrup)
- 25 tomatoes (small, sweet grape tomatoes)
- ½ cup carrots (shredded)
- Wash peeled waterchestnuts, drain, chop into 1/4 dice.
- Trim off any unattractive end of the spinach. Drop into pot of boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Drain well, dry with towel. Chop spinach finely.
- In a bowl big enough for all ingredients, combine remaining ingredients except for the tomatoes. Whisk well. Add spinach and waterchestnuts and toss well with your hands.
- Arrange on an attractive platter, cover with wax paper, then with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for hours. When ready to serve, remove covering sand arrange the tiny tomatoes in an attractive way.
- Decorate lightly with shredded carrot and serve.
- About the waterchestnuts: “available in Asian markets most of the year, and in some supermarkets; I’ve never seen good ones there, but if you see them, squeeze each waterchestnuts to be sure they’re uniformly firm all over.”
- About the tomatoes: “not those boring cherry tomatoes, though the orange kind are nice, the smaller the better.”