Bloomsdale spinach is probably the only leafy green that can be considered even remotely sexy -- the heavily ruffled top leaves act like a billowy skirt, concealing long crunchy stems that connect in a bright pink nexus at the base of the plant. And thankfully, most vendors harvest the plants whole so that we can correctly identify one of the tastier vegetables presently in season.
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If your idea of sexy veers toward more substance, you're still in luck. Bloomsdale Spinach is ambrosial - buttery and crunchy, sweet and tangy, and a delight when eaten either raw or cooked, though we prefer it in a bare salad. The leaves are heavily savoyed which gives them great texture and volume when fresh.
It's an old variety of spinach, introduced in the 19th century by David Ladreth, who named the greens in honor of his Bristol, Pennsylvania, farm. In the Los Angeles area, you can find it seasonally at Weiser Family Farms stands, where farmer Alex Weiser often has boxes of the stuff next to his piles of potatoes and carrots.
As the weather warms up, the Bloomsdale disappears -- it can't tolerate the hotter days in April and May. But for now it takes center stage -- the produce pictured above filled two long tables at the South Central Farmers Cooperative stand on Sunday at the Atwater Village farmers market. They say it's their most popular vegetable right now and will be around another three weeks.