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My favourite way of preparing spinach is the simplest: wilted, buttered and then buttered again. It must be fresh, picked off stems, young and tender leaves only. It’s so, so good I can have it on its own, and every other day.
Spinach is super easy to prepare it, like below for instance, or with blue cheese or cream; but it’s just as easy to ruin it if you handle it wrong. Baby spinach is a bit ridiculous and fit only for a dainty salad – why would you want to pick tiny leaves instead of letting them grow bigger and meatier? Spinach shrinks to nothing when cooked anyway. But just as bad are the huge, overgrown tough leaves: they go dirty grey colour when blanched and taste bitter.
Stems are a nasty element of a spinach dish – pick the leaves off them whatever you do. Often even pretty good restaurants don’t bother, and it’s like you were served a dish of beanstalks rather than creamy greens.
And it needs to be washed properly and thoroughly, grit being no flavoursome seasoning. And it must not be soggy – a side dish being a green puddle of water? I don’t think so.
If you have fresh, clean, nicely grown spinach, rinse it thoroughly and spin in a salad spinner – don’t blanch. It will release less moisture than if you blanch and try to squeeze the living daylights out of it. Trust me. And then proceed as below.
buttered spinachServings: 2-4Time: 15 minutes
- 400g (1 pound) fresh spinach, stems removed if possible
- 50g (3 tbsp.) unsalted butter
- 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
- salt and black pepper
1. Wash the spinach thoroughly and dry it in batches in a salad spinner; or with paper towels as much as you can; the drier the leaves, the less soggy the dish will be. Chop it very roughly.
2. Melt 1 tbsp. of the butter in a large frying pan or a wok over medium heat; add the garlic and cook until softened but not coloured.
3. Turn up the heat and add the spinach with another tbsp. of butter; season it generously with black pepper but no salt. Cook it for a couple of minutes, turning constantly with tongs until it’s all wilted.
4. Add the rest of the butter and toss the spinach about until the butter melts and the leaves are wilted, dark and glossy.
5. Take it off the heat and season lightly with salt. Serve immediately.