I went to Verrill Farm the other day and had a tough time containing myself at the sight of all the locally grown veggies. Spinach! Peas! Asparagus! It is funny to think how far I have come. Looking back, I can’t ever remember feeling anything more than “meh” about a vegetable. Other than tomatoes, I never really cared much for vegetables. I could never understand why anyone would choose a vegetable dish when there were meat dishes available. Marc never seemed to care all that much about eating veggies either.
Fast forward to Summer, 2008 and our first CSA. As we got a new delivery each week, I started to get it. When I had my first eggplant that summer, it was a revelation. I alway thought I disliked eggplants. It turns out, I disliked the old, bitter ones that are typically sold in the grocery store. Eating small, ripe eggplants that were just picked made me think about vegetables in a whole new way. These days, we work hard to eat as seasonally as possible. That means going without certain veggies (corn, tomatoes, chard, *sniffle*) for much of the year. However, it also means that when those veggies come back into season, it is like a new world of eating is opened up.
This spinach dish is one of those revelations. It is simple to prepare and not much to look at. But boy, do the flavors hit you in a completely unexpected way. The idea of putting spinach and dill together was a little strange to me, but don’t let it stop you because it is a dynamite combination. Fresh dill is a must for this recipe… the dried stuff won’t work.
Sautéed Spinach with Dill and Onion
Recipe from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffery
10 oz fresh spinach, washed, stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
For the yogurt sauce:
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, mashed to pulp
a dash of paprika
a dash of salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach to the pot and bring to a boil again. Allow to boil vigorously for two to three minutes. Drain the spinach into a colander. This part can be done ahead of time and the spinach allowed to cool. If cooking right away, run water over the spinach to cool it down. When you are ready to cook, squeeze out all the moisture by pressing small amounts of spinach in your hands. Make sure you get as much water out as you can. Finely chop the drained spinach.
Put the oil and butter in a medium frying pan and set over medium heat. When the oil and butter are hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about six minutes. Lower the heat if the onion starts to brown. Add the spinach, dill, water, and salt and stir until combined. Simmer gently, uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes.
To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, garlic, salt, and paprika in a small bowl.
Serve spinach hot with a dollop of yogurt sauce in top. Sprinkle with extra paprika to garnish. Serves 2 as a side dish.