Don’t you find that there are more appealing recipes than you could ever hope to cook? Between cookbooks, blogs, magazines and huge online recipe archives like Recipezaar and Epicurious I sometimes feel so inundated with new recipes that I forget the old favorites. My personal stash of “old standbys” lives in an adorable cloth-covered recipe binder given to me as a birthday present years ago by my friend Amanda. Not only did she order ribbon and fabric off of the Internet to ensure that she could find exactly what she had in mind, but she actually learned to use a sewing machine just for this project! Inside the binder is divided into sections by type of food (soup, veggies, sides, etc…) with each dividing page decorated just so. Along with the binder I was given a packet of striped notecards (some already filled with favorite recipes we had made together) on which to record my future culinary projects. What a great present, no? As I’ve said before, she is nothing if not thoughtful, especially when it comes to the art of giving presents.
But I digress…my point is that when I was feeling a bit uninspired the other night I turned to my recipe binder hoping to find something from the past that was worth trying again. This simple recipe was one that Amanda and I made several years ago and tucked into the binder for its ease of preparation, its short ingredient list, and its interesting combination of flavors. This particular version of spinach with pine nuts and raisins is from Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen by Joyce Goldstein (via Epicurious), but the combination of ingredients has very old Sephardic roots and is common in Turkey, Spain, Greece, and Italy. With its vitamins, antioxidants, and folic acid, I’m always looking for more ways to cook spinach, but this is one to return to again and again. For those who like mixing the savory and the sweet, this easy dish is definitely worth a try. We served it here alongside a piece of salmon for a super-filling and guilt-free meal.
2 1/2 lbs spinach (this is a very flexible amount)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 small yellow onions or 6 green onions, minced
4 tbsp raisins, plumped in hot water and drained
4 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Rinse the spinach well and remove the stems. Place in a large saute pan with only the rinsing water clinging to the leaves. Cook over medium heat, turning as needed until wilted, just a few minutes. Drain well and set aside.
2. Add the olive oil to the now empty pan and place over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the spinach, raisins, and pine nuts and saute briefly to warm through. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature.