Susan S. Yeske: Recipe of the Week A dark shade of green Spring offers dozens of shades of green, and among them is the dark, leafy shade of locally grown spinach. Much of the early spinach that will be offered at local farms and farmers markets in coming weeks has been overwintered in local farm fields, hardy enough to survive the freeze and ready to begin growing as soon as the days turn warm. Other local spinach comes from greenhouses or high tunnels, allowing us to enjoy this nutrient-rich vegetable at the start of the spring growing season. Kale, arugula, bok choy, spring rabe and lettuces are among the other greens you can find at local markets, but spinach is a favorite. It is already showing up in local markets. Thanks to the cartoon character Popeye, many of us grew up knowing that spinach is full of nutrition. Those nutrients include vitamins C, K and E as well as potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. Eaten fresh in a salad, it has lots of fiber. And spinach is one of the few vegetables that releases more nutrients when eaten cooked than when eaten fresh. Spring is a good time for spinach salads, but it also is a great ingredient for soups, quiches, dips and casseroles. It also can be added to pizza or pasta dishes. This recipe from acouplecooks.com takes its flavors from the popular spinach artichoke dip, except it is served as a sandwich. Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese 3 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped 3 canned artichoke hearts (6 ounces) 2 cloves garlic 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons sour cream 1 cup shredded cheese (blend of mozzarella, Monterey jack and provolone) 4 pieces bread Kosher salt Butter 1. Mince the garlic. Drain and chop the artichokes. Wash and stem the spinach, then chop it coarsely. 2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Then add the spinach and 1 pinch kosher salt, and sauté for a few minutes until just limp. Add the artichokes and sauté for another minute or so, until heated through. Drain off any liquid from the pan. Stir in the sour cream and another pinch of kosher salt. 3. Spread butter (or olive oil) on one side of each of the bread pieces. Heat a griddle pan to medium high heat. Place 2 pieces of bread on the griddle, buttered side down. On each piece, spread some shredded cheese, the spinach artichoke filling, some more cheese (½ cup cheese per sandwich), and the other piece of bread. When the bottom bread is browned, flip the sandwich and cook until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.