Monday, April 21, 2014

Recipe of the Month: Spinach with Raisins and Walnuts

Our own garden isn't producing anything yet (though we do have a couple of promising-looking asparagus spears beginning to poke their way out of the ground), but fresh spring veggies are flooding into the market from parts south. Last weekend at the H-Mart, we found a good deal on spinach: just $1.49 for a nice-sized bunch, which actually plumped up quite a bit more once we got it into some cold water. About half of it got used last night, in a simple salad with some diced grapefruit and chopped walnuts (we've done this before with red leaf lettuce, and spinach turns out to work just as well). But that still left a reasonable-sized bunch, so tonight, when we were casting around for a veggie to accompany some leftover chicken and potatoes, I decided to consult our cookery bible (Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian) for spinach suggestions. And in the section dealing with spinach, I discovered a recipe that we'd bookmarked but never actually made before: Spinach with Currants and Nuts.

Our usual practice with unfamiliar recipes is to make them exactly according to the directions the first time, then modify them as needed. This time, however, the recipe was simple enough that we felt reasonably confident making some alterations on the fly. For a start, we substituted raisins for the currants, which we didn't happen to have on hand. Also, the instructions, for some unfathomable reason, said to steam the spinach first, squeeze out the liquid, and then sauté it. However, we knew perfectly well that raw spinach will cook in no time if you put it straight into a pot, so we just sautéed up some minced garlic (the recipe said this was optional, but as Brian put it, "Since when is garlic optional?") and threw the spinach right in, stirring it around until it wilted. Then we just tossed in the raisins (soaked in warm water beforehand) and the walnuts (chopped and toasted), creating a nice gemisch that we stirred around for another few minutes before serving it up.

As Brian noted, our version probably ended up a bit heavier on the raisins and walnuts than the original recipe, since he used the full quarter-cup of each that the recipe called for, while the amount of spinach we had left was probably somewhat less than a pound—but that certainly didn't hurt it any. It made a tasty accompaniment to our leftovers, and we'd certainly have been happy to eat more of it if there had been any left. So I consider our modified Spinach with Raisins and Walnuts an unqualified success, and we'll certainly be making it again—ideally with a higher ratio of spinach to other goodies.
Post a Comment