Popeye loved it, but many picky eaters shy away from spinach. If you want to be “strong to the finish” like Olive Oyl’s main squeeze, some of the chefs participating in this year’s Boca Bacchanal Wine & Food Festival offer assistance in the form of recipes just in time for National Spinach Day on March 26.
    Here is one of them:

Chilled spinach and mint soup
    Shared by Brian and Shanna O’Hea of The Kennebunk Inn and Academe Brasserie, Kennebunk, Maine.

Serves 12
4 cups spinach, cleaned and trimmed
1 bunch watercress, stems removed
3 cucumbers, skin off, seeded and rough chopped
1 onion, small dice
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons mint, chopped
1 cup yogurt, plain Greek
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Season salt and black pepper

Vanilla oil
1 cup grapeseed oil
1 vanilla bean

4 ounces micro-greens

Method for vanilla oil:
Place vanilla bean and oil in saucepan over medium heat, bring to boil, turn off and let steep for up to 24 hours.

Method for soup:
Sweat onions in olive oil until translucent, reserve.
Blanch watercress and spinach in boiling water for one minute and shock in ice water to retain bright green color and squeeze dry.
In blender puree smooth half of the watercress, spinach, onions, mint, cucumbers and 1½  cups of chicken stock until smooth.
Strain through small china-cap
Continue to blend the other half of ingredients and combine together
Whisk in yogurt, lemon juice and seasoning. Chill for at least two hours before serving.

Method for plating:
Pour soup in reserved chilled bowl, garnish with tablespoon size of micro-greens and drizzle with vanilla oil

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