Update June 2010: in June 2009 I switched to eating gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free refined-sugar-free and nearly vegan, so this review predates the switch (by almost a year). That said, this dish is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
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So I have an obsession for dark greens, ever so slightly wilted before eating. Now don’t get me wrong, I love dark greens in salads, but I find they get that much more flavorful with 2 minutes on the stove. I think of it as a warm salad.
It’s to the point where it’s my favored side for just about anything, and my husband has started making noises about maybe us making different veggies (to which my answer is for us to make a second veggie side – hey, more dark greens for me). Sometimes wilted greens are the main event, with maybe some hummus and bread, or a fried egg, or some prosciutto. What I like too is that most recipes with spinach are equally good with arugula – so I can see what looks good and less expensive at the store/ market right before I make a decision. Lately, I have also been able to find mizuna (mustard greens) and tatsoi, and those substitute for spinach just as easily.
My obsession is such that I have already snuck a wilted greens recipe in this blog – but there’s always room for more. I first made the recipe below a night I made Catalan Chickpeas and wanted my greens to have a Catalan twist. Swiss chard with pine nuts and raisins is a traditional Catalan first course dish but I don’t like raisins and we were about 4 months away from Swiss Chard season seeing as it was June.
So I googled and mixed and matched came up with the following – not completely Catalan but very tasty:
Spinach with Pine Nuts and Cranberries
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and let it melt into the olive oil. Then add the pine nuts and cranberries and cook until the pine nuts are slightly browned, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the spinach and toss with tongs until wilted (this is under 2 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat, drizzle the spinach with the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Add salt and/or pepper if appropriate (CGL Note: I find I need not add anything usually).
Additional CGL variation: add a tablespoon of grainy mustard right and stir before taking the spinach off the heat and adding the lemon juice. I usually do this variation if I am having something fairly mild – like grilled chicken – with the spinach. It may sound weird, but the lemon and sweetness of the cranberries work beautifully with grain mustard.
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