Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spinach with Preserved Meyer Lemons

This was a phenomenal and fairly easy side dish that we served with a beautiful grilled salmon.  You could taste the roasted garlic first and then came the subtle, yet zesty lemon to compliment the spinach.  Avery said it's like a wonderful symphony of flavors and she was right.  This one was a hit with the family and will be added to our repertoire.  

The preserved lemon might change your mind about spinach if you're not a fan.  You can use the same cooking method with mustard greens, kale or any other cooking green.

This recipe is from Chef Michael Chiarello's cookbook "Bottega," named after his restaurant in Napa Valley.  It's my hope that we will get to have lunch there while we're in the wine country this week.

2 TBSP Kosher salt
6 lbs fresh spinach, stemmed and rinsed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP garlic minced
Sea salt, preferably gray salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 TBSP minced Preserved Meyer Lemons
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or1/2 tsp Calabrian chile paste (optional)
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

Add the kosher salt to a pot with 1 1/2 gallons of water and bring to a boil over high heat. While the water heats prepare an ice bath, half ice and half water.  Add the spinach  to the boiling water and stir to make sure every leaf is Submerged.  When the water returns to a boil, cook for 4 minutes more.  Reserve about 1 cup of the water and then drain in a colander.  Press the excess water out with a ladle, and then transfer the spinach to the ice bath, pressing it under to stop the cooking.  Remove it from the ice bath and with your hands make a ball of the spinach and squeeeeeeze until you've made a spinach hardball.  Transfer the spinach ball to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch slices.  Pull apart with your hands.

Heat a large saute pan or skillet over high heat, add the olive oil, and saute the garlic until light brown.  Add the drained cooked spinach, taking care to squeeze out the water again before adding it to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the spinach for 2 - 3 minutes, or until it's piping hot throughout.  Taste for salt and the preserved lemon and the red pepper flakes, if you want a spicy kick to your greens.  Toss.  Add a little of the reserved spinach water if you need to.  Squeeze the fresh lemon over the spinach, toss and serve.

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