Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe: Wilted Spinach with Red Pepper Flakes

This is my favorite way to eat spinach.

When I have fresh spinach it makes it ten times more delicious!

This recipe can be made with bagged spinach, baby spinach, or full leaf - I've done them all. On this particular day, though, I prepared it with a nice full bunch from the farmers' market.

Step 1: Cleaning the Spinach

For me, spinach is one of the most annoying things to clean. It always needs to be cleaned, even if you have a bag that says "pre-washed" and if it is not pre-washed, it has to be washed numerous times!
Spinach in my salad spinner!

Jack Bishop suggests in his book, Vegetables Every Day, that you rinse the spinach in a bowl with cold water and swoosh it around with your hands. Take the spinach out, dry it off, rinse out the bowl, and repeat. You have to repeat over and over until the water in the bowl is clear.

I used to do this. Then I got a salad spinner from IKEA for two dollars. Now I put the spinach leaves in, rinse with cold water, pour the water out, spin and repeat until the water runs clean. This saves me - I was using a ridiculous amount of paper towels before, now I use NONE!

Step 2: Get the Rest of Your Meal Done & Gathering Ingredients

Wilting spinach takes a short amount of time, so I makes sure it is the last thing I do usually. I'll clean it early and get my ingredients together, but then I wait until there is only about 7-10minutes left until dinnertime.

Ingredients you need:
  • olive oil
  • clove of garlic, minced
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • spinach, cleaned **Note: Whatever amount of spinach you make will shrink to at least a third its size in this recipe. Please consider this when you decide how much to make!**
Step 3: Cooking it Up!

In a pan with a cover, heat 1.5-2 tablespoons of oil with the clove of garlic and 1-2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes (for a bigger kick, just add more, but remember a little gos a long way!).

Before the garlic browns (you should be able to smell the red pepper and garlic cooking), add all of the spinach and begin to turn it. You want all of the spinach to touch the oil. It may seem like there is not enough oil, but keep turning it, until it all the spinach has a gloss and begins to look a bit darker in color.
Notice how dark and glossy the spinach is. It is already starting to wilt.
When all of the spinach is covered in oil (this shouldn't take long), lower the heat and put the cover on the pan. Let it cook this way for 2-3minutes.

Remove the lid. Stir the spinach once more. Then turn off the heat. If you are not ready to serve, put the lid back on to contain the heat until it's time to eat, otherwise - plate it up and ENJOY!

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