Copyright Photograph by Sandra Gutierrez, 2009; All Rights Reserved.
It's summertime in the South and the temperature is rising. On evenings when it is just too hot to cook, I adapt my cooking accordingly and make easy recipes that take little time to prepare. Take this easy side dish, the perfect accoutrement to a grilled steak or salmon fillet. It is simple to prepare and requires only a handful of ingredients.
Spinach and garlic are a classic combination. So are nutmeg and spinach and this recipe features both. I love spinach, so I always have some at hand--whether fresh or frozen. I love baby spinach leaves and often eat them raw, simply drizzled with a bit of sherry vinegar, a touch of mustard and extra virgin olive oil. I stir them into omelets just before turning them, so that the heat of the pan will barely wilt them. In winter, spinach is a last-minute addition to soups where it softens but remains bright green.
However, in the summer, I prefer to eat it in salads or to saute it briefly. The recipe I offer you today is a perfect summer side dish. If you can't find fresh spinach in your farmers' market, then substitute with organic, frozen spinach. For the perfect summer meal, with Latin intonations, serve this spinach dish alongside a robust ribeye steak, topped with a fresh tomato salsa. Eat your spinach, not because it's healthy--although it is that--but because it's delicious. Don't over cook it and it will reward you with pure, clean, unadulterated flavor.
Espinaca con Ajo
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves, washed
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Pinch nutmeg (freshly grated)
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
More extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling on top)
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil; add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Working in batches, begin to add the spinach, piling up high and begin to stir, until it wilts. Continue adding the remaining spinach and stir until all of it has wilted but remains a bright green color. Stir in the salt, nutmeg and pepper. Serve, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
Yields: 4 portions.
Copyright, Sandra Gutierrez, 2009; All Rights Reserved.