Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A New Way with Spinach

I'm a big fan of spinach, both fresh and cooked. The bags of precleaned baby spinach that are available in your market...and I found a nice, fresh bag at Target yesterday, too...make it so easy to prepare something quick using the delightful taste and slug of nutrients that spinach brings to your dish.

Dorie Greenspan has written some great baking books. All of the recipes seem to be perfectly written, so I was thrilled to get her latest book, Around My French Table, for Christmas this year. In it she has a great recipe for steamed spinach flavored with lemon zest.

What is new about it is that she specifies tossing the unsteamed spinach with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper as you would a salad. Then you take that spinach, which now is dressed and flavored throughout, and steam it lightly. Once steamed it's ready to be served. She recommends using tongs and letting any extra liquid that has formed drip off the spinach being held by the tongs before plating it.

The photos are merely suggestions for how green and stunning the spinach looks on the plate. My focus on photography has gone missing of late...hope it returns soon.

We had the spinach with some whole-wheat pasta and a sauce that was based on my favorite pasta sauce, but had Italian turkey sausage instead of plain ground turkey for the protein, lots of chopped Italian parsley, and some fire-roasted, peel and diced red pepper. A good dusting of grated Parmesan finished it off nicely and the steamed spinach was a sprightly counterpoint for the heavy herby sauce.

Lemon Steamed Spinach
From Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/4 lbs (two 10-oz. bags) baby spinach (precleaned and trimmed)
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Have your steamer set up and ready to go - make sure you don't fill the pot with so much water that it will boil up into the steaming basket.

Put the spinach in a bowl and toss it with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the zest and salt and pepper to taste. Taste for seasoning and, if the spinach looks dry, add some or all of the remaining olive oil.

Turn the spinach into the pot, cover, and steam for 3 minutes - the spinach will probably need another minute or two before it's tender, but it's a good idea to check early ad to give it a turn. The spinach should be served as soon as it's cooked. Makes 4 servings.

Note: I made half the recipe, using one bag of prepared spinach and the zest from half a lemon...worked just as well but no leftovers.


  1. Next Sister Down6:03 AM

    How coincidental that you should write about spinach! I've been using lots of spinach in the last couple of years. Those bags and boxes (Safeway often has big boxes on sale) of baby spinach leaves are so easy to do things with. Just last night I was making something and realized that spinach has become my go-to, when I never liked cooked spinach growing up.

    Last night, I was using up the last of a bag of Trader Joe frozen roasted corn to go with some leftover pork. I sauteed the corn in olive oil with chopped garlic and some other seasonings until it was heated through. When it was just about ready, I tossed in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves, put a lid on the saute pan, and let the spinach steam for a couple of minutes, then mixed it with the corn. When I put it on the plate, I sprinkled it with pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

    The night before, I sauteed some of the spinach with garlic, sprinkled in some fig-infused balsamic vinegar (an impulse purchase at Safeway recently), and cooked briefly until the spinach was wilted, served it with brown rice and a salmon patty (both rice and salmon from Trader Joe's freezer case). Love those almost-instant dinners!

    I never thought to add the dressing first. That sounds great. I also love the idea of using lemon zest.

  2. Hi Elle, long time since I've been past!

    I love Dorie's new book, and will give this one a go :)

  3. NSD, it's great to get another great sounding recipe...well actually more than one...using spinach! Thanks! I think the trouble with cooked spinach while growning up was that it was overcooked like 'green' beans were.I prefer spinach lightly cooked.

    KJ, So glad you stopped by...hope to see you again soon.