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Monday, December 17, 2012

Spinach with Feta & Pine Nuts

My dreams of a white Christmas may be replaced with a wet Christmas. Rain is here and it looks like it has no intention of stopping. Oh well. Thank you baby Jesus for turning an otherwise pretty dreary and sleepy time of year into a month of cookies, sparkly parties, and garland. Our little town center is dressed to the nines with wreathes, lights, and glitter. It's all dripping wet, covered in mud and puddles, but the spirit is there.

If you need a gift for a cook or eater on your list here are two new and fabulous cookbooks.
Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust & Martha's American Food: A Celebration of Our Nation's Most Treasured Dishes, from Coast to Coast

Winter vegetables can get kind of sad and boring but spinach is a fast and easy way to eat your greens. The most important thing is not to overcook spinach but to simply wilt the leaves over the heat and remove. They will wilt further in the hot pan and piled together.

You can make this side in less than 15 minutes and eat it with fish, piled on top of grilled bread, or squished into a sandwich.

Spinach with Feta & Pine Nuts
serves 4

slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust (the delicious Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas were also from this book)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until the onion is tender but not browned.

2. Meanwhile, grate the zest from the lemon. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pan. Add the spinach in big handfuls, tossing gently with tongs for a minute or two until the leaves are wilted. Remove from heat.

3. Sprinkle spinach with lemon zest, pine nuts, and feta. As the saltiness will depend on your feta, taste at this point and add salt and pepper as needed.


  1. This looks like a great way to highlight spinach and get the most out of its' nutrients without over-complicating. One of the best spinach dishes I have had was barely sauteed and simply dressed, just like you're suggesting here. I identify with the weather as well. Sadly the 2+ feet of snow came a week too early here in Switzerland and now it's just mild and raining!

  2. Katie - I'm jealous you already got some snow even if it's being washed away. I'm worried we will only get rain this winter but I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune in February. Yes, I love just wilted spinach and not cooked to death. So delicious!
    Thanks for saying hi.

  3. This sounds lovely, will make it tonight. Prbly with a poached salmon, or something like that, served on top! Thnx!

    On another note: not a big deal, but I do wish that your recipes "steps" were not inter-laced with photos. I enjoy the photography, you do a nice job with that, and good shots enhance the over-all presentation. But ... it would be much nicer if the ingredients and recipe steps were then followed by your excellent photography ..



  4. Peter - Your meal sounds great and I hope you enjoy it!
    You have a good point about the photo and recipe mix. I'll brainstorm a possible solution.
    Happy eating!

    1. it was in fact delicious! Brown rice on the plate, spinach mixture on that, poached salmon on that. Fantastic, really.

      I'll pbly use this spinach technique and flavoring often - can see it with eggs of various sorts (oh, can't you just imagine this with a baked egg on top?), chicken, other kinds of fish, and just on it's own as a side. YUM!


    2. so ok - after saying it, now I have to try it. Have some of the spinach from last night leftover - baked eggs with the spinach on a toasty baguette slice ...

      Breakfast for dinner, baby!


    3. Wow I'm jealous of your day in eating!


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