A few years ago, while living in California, I ducked into a little olive oil and vinegar speciality food store. I purchased a small bottle of garlic-infused oil and the merchant stuck a little recipe card for making a garlic-infused spinach dish with the oil. I absolutely fell in love with it. I no longer live near that specialty store, so I decided to see if I couldn’t recreate the dish with my own pantry items. This garlic spinach recipe is the result.
This dish is loaded with nutrition. Spinach is a vitamin powerhouse (Beta Carotene, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin K). Garlic is touted for its cholesterol-lowering properties, but I have to tell you, in order to achieve those, you have to eat enough garlic that it will be exuded from your pores. As this is not necessarily the most socially acceptable side-effect, I tended not to push garlic hard in my days as a cardiac dietitian. Olive oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids that have been linked to good health, and is a foundation of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered one of the healthiest foodways in the world. Years of practice now has me shying away from terms like “super food” because I hate the guilt created when foods are labeled good or bad, but without a doubt, this dish does pack an awful lot of good into a relatively small package.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlice minced
- 5 oz fresh spinach
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 2 dashes vinegar of your choice I think greens and vinegar belong together, but this is a taste preference. I use balsamic with this recipe.
Over VERY low heat, slowly warm the garlic in the olive oil. Garlic can burn easily when cooked in this manner, so watch very closely. You want to just gently cook until it becomes fragrant. If it turns brown, toss out and start over. Burned garlic is bitter and will ruin the flavor of the dish. (I may or may not have too much personal experience with burning garlic, so just trust me on this one.)
Toss in clean, fresh spinach directly in the pan with the olive oil and garlic. Toss to coat with oil.
Cook the spinach until over low heat, until it has cooked down. It's volume will be reduced dramatically. Add the salt and pepper (to taste). Serve in small bowl and toss with a few splashes of vinegar (if you wish). The dish is delicious without the vinegar as well.