I have this terrible habit of not reading through recipes properly. Case in point: I arrived home after a long day of work last week all jazzed about a miso chicken recipe I had read (mainly because it would cut into the huge tub of miso growing old among our condiments). I had had Dylan defrost the chicken breasts and was all set to go when I realized that it required 1-2 hours of marinade, something that just is not an option when you arrive home ravenous at 8 pm.
Just a few days later, my bad habit struck again, as I got to work on this recipe for spinach with garlic yogurt sauce. I had managed to read through the ingredient list thoroughly and seeing rice in it, had presumed this would be a terrific, light veggie dinner. Light indeed. When I realized that there were, in fact, only 1 1/2 tablespoons of rice in the entire dish, it dawned on me that perhaps this was intended to be merely a side dish. Whoops! Thank heavens for veggie burgers (you don’t hear that often!).
So it wasn’t nearly substantial enough to be a main course, but this little spinach dish, from the latest issue of Bon Appetit (and found here on Epicurious) packs a punch. The spinach itself is sauteed with chilies and onion and then topped with both a dollop of cool, refreshing yogurt sauce and a drizzle of spicy cayenne butter. I’m always happy to find new ways to make spinach and this is one that will definitely find a home in my culinary repertoire.
Fresh spinach with garlic-yogurt sauce (serves 4-6 as a side dish)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
4 dried chiles de árbol (I substituted some mystery dried chilies I found on our spice rack, making sure not to include too many seeds)
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons uncooked medium-grain white rice
2 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or drained plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*Small, thin, very hot red chiles; available at some supermarkets and at Latin markets.
1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add chiles and 1/3 of spinach. Cook until spinach wilts, adding remaining spinach in 2 additions and tossing often, about 4 minutes. Mix in rice. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and moisture from spinach is absorbed, adding water by tablespoonfuls if needed for rice, about 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until mixture is dry, about 2 minutes; discard chiles.
2. Meanwhile, press garlic cloves into small bowl, stir in yogurt, and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter with 1 tablespoon oil in small skillet or microwave. Mix in cayenne and remove from heat.
3. Spread mixture on platter; make indentations with back of spoon. Spoon yogurt into indentations and drizzle with cayenne butter.