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Recipe File

Sauteed Spinach

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I get a lot of recipe requests and many of them are for simple recipes, vegetable recipes, or basic recipes. I've decided to combine all these different requests into a simple example of how to saute spinach for a vegetable side dish.

Spinach can be quite dirty, so be sure to wash it thoroughly. Bagged spinach is often triple washed (look at the labelling to be sure) and is very convenient but can be much pricier than buying them in fresh bundles. I've also found that fresh spinach can often be sweeter and more tender than when I cook bagged spinach.

The method is pretty simple and can be applied to a variety of green leafy vegetables (although most will need to have the stems removed, chopped up, and cooked longer to achieve a texture tender enough to be palatable). We love preparing turnip greens, beet greens, sweet potato greens, swiss chard, kale, and collard greens this way.

Wash and dry (using a salad spinner is a fast way to dry leafy vegetables) 1/2 pound spinach. You can also simply just shake the excess water off the spinach, but there tends to be more moisture in the final sauteed spinach if you do.

Mince 1 clove of garlic. In a medium pan (a 3-qt saute pan like this one works well), heat the garlic with 1 Tbs canola oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and garlic is slightly translucent.

Add spinach to the pan until it is filled to the rim. The spinach will wilt and cook down pretty rapidly allowing more spinach to be added to the pan.

Use tongs to turn the spinach and mix it up a bit so some of the fresh spinach that was just added gets a chance to cook on the bottom of the pan. Continue to add spinach until all of it is in the pan. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the spinach (about 1/8 tsp). The moisture that is released from the spinach as it cooks should dissolve the salt and allow it to be evenly spread as the spinach is turned and mixed by the tongs.

Once all the spinach has cooked down (1 to 3 minutes) and turned a dark, saturated green color, the dish is done. If cooking more than 1/2 pound spinach (just scale up the garlic and the salt proportionally), I find that cooking in batches works better than a lot at once, but with some practice cooking a large batch in a large pot can be just as easy.

Sauteed Spinach (serves 2 as a side dish)
1/2 lb. fresh spinachwash & drainsauteseason to taste
1 clove garlicminceheat until transluscent
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 pinch (1/16 tsp) table salt

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Written by Michael Chu
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