I wrote a Curious Capitalist post about spinach last week. I didn’t have anything major to say, but I’d come across a cool blog post on the subject of the current spinach problems, and I wanted to write something that wasn’t about corporate governance. Plus, I really like spinach.
In the post I mentioned my favorite way of preparing the greatest of the leafy vegetables. So I was thinking that, in these spinach-deprived times, it might be nice to share the details. The recipe is originally from Cucina Fresca, by Viana la Place and Evan Kleiman, which I’m pretty sure is the first cookbook I ever owned. But I’ve made some elaborations and alterations.
You start with a nice dirty bunch of spinach (that is, not one of those precut, prewashed bags that carry E. Coli and don’t taste as good anyway). You wash it and wash it and wash it, remove the stems, then let it dry for a while. There’s no need to chop it up unless the leaves are really huge.
Then, in a nice big frying pan, you start cooking up some anchovy fillets in olive oil. The easiest way to do this is with anchovies in a tin–use an entire tin. But the best-tasting anchovies I’ve had come in Agostino Recca brand jars. Half a jar is about right for one spinach bunch.
Cook the anchovies over a pretty low flame with a few tablespoons of olive oil. As the filets start to disintegrate, add a couple of cloves of garlic. You can either chop them up or put them through a garlic press, I think this is one case where pressed garlic is actually better. Let this mixture simmer until the anchovies have disintegrated completely. Add more olive oil if the mixture starts looking a little crusty.
Now it’s time to put in the spinach. Turn the burner up to medium, then throw the spinach in. Keep flipping it and stirring it so it cooks evenly. Once it’s all wilted, you’re done. No need to cook it any longer. You can eat it right out of the pan, or at room temperature.
Meanwhile, until spinach is in back in stores, try swiss chard.
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Please note that the spinach will wilt fairly quickly. It does not take long to cook. Also, it’s best when the anchovies have been cooked long (and slowly) enough that the bones disintegrate. It’s not great when there are little hair-like bits throughout.
Justin is a really good cook, I have to say.