To make Spinage Toasts

This recipe is tasty yet unusual for the modern palate. The unexpected spinach and apple combination complement each other wonderfully. These toasts might work for an appetizer or a light lunch. It’s great as a side dish with pork, lamb, or even beef.

18th Century

PICK your Spinage well, wash it, blanch it off in boiling Water for a
quarter of an Hour; then strain it out, and squeeze it well from the Water, and mince it very fine, then put it into a Stone-mortar with three or four Spoonfuls of Apples boil’d to a Marmalade; the Yolks of four Eggs boil’d hard, three raw Eggs, and a couple of coarse Biskets soaked in Cream, season’d with Salt and Sugar; beat these well together, then put it into a Dish, and mix with a good Handful of Currans, pick’d and wash’d, and three or four Spoonfuls of melted Butter; then cut handsome Toasts about half an Inch thick, four Inches long, and two broad, and spread your Spinage, &c. on them half an Inch thick; wet it over with the White of an Egg, butter the Bottom of a Mazarine-dish, or Patty-pan; lay your Toasts in, and bake them, they will be done in half an Hour; scrape a little Nutmeg, and squeeze a little Orange on them; serve up half a dozen upon a Plate for a Supper, or second Course.

Nott, Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, Art. 138.

21st Century

  • 1 lb. spinach leaves
  • 2 oz. fresh currants, or dried currants plumped in warm water and drained
  • 1 medium sweet apple
  • 4 egg yolks, hard boiled (optional)
  • 2 small sponge cakes (cupcake size)
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 medium bread rolls (a little smaller than a fist)
  • 1 cup cream (you may substitute skim milk or low-fat cream)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 to 3 egg whites, whipped to a froth
  • 1 and 1/8 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 medium orange
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F
  2. In a bowl, break up sponge cakes and cover them with cream, salt, and 1/8 Tbsp. sugar. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Boil spinach 4 to 5 minutes. Strain and let cool. Chop into small pieces.
  4. Peel, core, and chop the apple very small. In small pan, mix apple with 1 Tbsp. sugar. Cook over medium heat to make a small amount of apple marmalade. Set aside.
  5. Separate the hard-boiled egg yolks from whites. Mince yolks and set aside. (Use the whites for another purpose.)
  6. When sponge cakes have become mushy, add currants, apple marmalade, chopped spinach, minced egg yolk, and melted butter. Mix very well.
  7. Slice rolls and toast them under the broiler. Spread spinach mixture on top of each slice and place in an oven-safe dish.
  8. Spread frothed egg whites thinly over each spinach-topped toast and bake in 300°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until frothed egg whites are golden.
  9. Remove from oven. Sprinkle nutmeg and drizzle orange juice over each toast. Serve.

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4 Responses to “To make Spinage Toasts”

  1. April 20th, 2011

    Amanda O'Brien says:

    Hey Foodways!

    I love this new blog! I made the spinage toasts today during an open-hearth cooking workshop at the Atlanta History Center. We were all a little weirded out by the combination of ingredients, and some people were hesitant to try them. They came out looking very pretty and tasted DELICIOUS! Definitely a “make again”, both for taste and the novelty of the ingredients. A co-worker and I are going to try the French bread tomorrow. Our kitchen, like the Randolph House, doesn’t have a brick oven – so it’ll be interesting to see how they turn out in the spider pot. I’ll keep you posted. I miss you all and hope you are doing well!

    Fondly,
    ~Amanda O’Brien

  2. April 20th, 2011

    Dori Cavala says:

    Made these in our modern kitchen in California for Sunday brunch, and we love them! A few notes:

    1. These take about 2-2 1/2 hours, start to finish, although hard boiling the eggs and cooking the apples can be done ahead of time.
    2. It was a little hard to figure out how many “toasts” would make up. I ended up using WAY more than four rolls, as I doubled the recipe.
    3. If the toasts are supposed to be crisp, then you need to use a robust bread. We used storebought “dinner rolls” and, while they tasted fine, they came out a little mushy.
    4. If you’re making these up in a modern kitchen and have a steamer basket of sufficient size, steaming the spinach goes WAY faster and easier than boiling it.
    5. When they say drain, SQUEEZE the water out through the strainer. Otherwise there’s a lot of liquid in the mixture and the toasts get soft.
    6. We’re on Day 3 now and the leftovers are keeping quite well in the fridge! To reheat, place them on a baking sheet and heat up in the oven for 10 minutes at about 350F.

    Thanks, Historic Foodways! These were wonderful, and we can’t wait for an excuse to make them again!

  3. January 21st, 2012

    Lisa says:

    Hi Can you please email me the recipe for Jefferson’s Garden Pea Salad that’s served at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern. We ate there a couple of years ago and I remember really enjoying this salad. Thanks so much! Lisa

    • January 23rd, 2012

      Historic Foodways says:

      We’re so glad your last visit was a good one, the taverns are such a special place to have a meal. Unfortunately, Jefferson’s Garden Pea Salad is not one of the recipes prepared in the Governor’s Palace Kitchen. You might try leafing through one of our tavern cookbooks to see if you can find it. Here’s a link to a few in our bookstore.

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