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How to make spinach w/garlic

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  • mocro Jan 22, 2009 06:36 AM
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My husband spends a bit of time in China and always raves about the heaping platters of spinach w/garlic that seem to accompany every meal. I have spinach. I have garlic. Can someone tell me what to do w/them? Thanks!

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  1. I saute a shallot or small onion in some olive oil and butter 1 tablespoon or each, add the garlic 1 tablespoon for me and cook until lightly soft. Then add the spinach (I use one bag a baby spinach pre washed) I do not let it cook too long, just to get it wilted. Toss to cover all the spinach. Once the spinach is wilted I add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a little squeeze of lemon if you have it, but not necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. 5 minutes tops.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kchurchill5

      Thank you so much! Will serve tonight.

      1. re: mocro

        I make mine exactly as kchurchill5, but sometimes I add hot red pepper flakes. You can skip the shallot or onion, too. Oh - and tongs are a blessing for this dish. They make it so easy to grab the spinach and flip it around as it cooks.

        1. re: RosemaryHoney

          I agree about addinga pinch of red pepper flakes. I use 5 cloves per bag of spinach and I add lemon pepper to taste if I don't have lemon

          1. re: folprivate

            same as above, but i like to reserve a little chopped garlic to toss on at the end of cooking

      2. re: kchurchill5

        I can say that baby spinach in bags is very convenient (I use them too so don't get me wrong) but if you're truly trying to recreate the dish I would suggest using large leaf spinach that you find in the regular refrigerated produce coolers. The flavor is MUCH better. Instead of salt, try soy sauce.

      3. If I may, another way to cook the spinach and garlic is to sautee as kchuchill5 mentioned but add a few anchovy fillets.. either the ones in oil or if salted - rinse them off first. No vinegar.... just some red pepper flakes near the end of cooking. Remember to cook just until the spinach is wilted...and toss in the oily goodness before serving.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Have done it as well, very very good. And I agree with the large spinach leaves as HaagenDazs mentioned. Just normally don't have time, but agreed more flavor. Guess you have to forego somethings to get the finished product. Still any of these are great, just enjoy!

          1. re: kchurchill5

            The other thing to consider is that probably your husband had Chinese Water Spinach which is a different vegetable than our regular supermarket variety.

            This link tells you all about it and gives some recipes as well....You might try some for the upcoming Chinese New Year.
            http://www.asiafood.org/glossary_2.cf...

            1. re: Gio

              Nope I made it just the regular spinach not the baby leaves. I have had the Chinese and it is much different. I don't enjoy it however. but thank you for the info

              1. re: kchurchill5

                Sorry, I misplaced my post, kchurchill. I meant to give another reply to the OP....It was her husband who had the spinach in China.

                1. re: Gio

                  No worries

        2. I too agree with HaagenDazs for the mature Spinach. One other thing I would recommend is to steam the spinach in a Bamboo steamer instead of frying or (God forbid :) boiling.

          It really makes a difference. It cooks delicate things quickly while retaining texture and that magnificent green color. They are really inexpensive and you can find them in almost any Asian market. I use it to steam most greens.

          Happy eating, Oana

          2 Replies
          1. re: oana

            My recipe is basically pan sauteeing not frying. You can even add a little chicken broth which I always have on hand to give a little moisture, but it cooks so quick I usually don't need it. I use the chicken broth when I am making chard or kale which takes longer to cook. Spinach is so quick 2-3 minutes and done.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              I used to do that as well until I discovered the steamer. It really makes a difference in the texture and color. I do the same for Kale and Chard. You do have to shake the water off but afterward but it really keeps the integrity in tact.
              That being said I sauteed some Cavolo Nero yeaterday and gool lord was it good! :)
              Happy eating, Oana

          2. Seasoned Fresh Spinach
            Ingredients:

            2 bunches fresh bunch spinach(stem & leaf, not the bagged leaves) [about 24 ounces]
            2 green onions, chopped
            6 cloves garlic
            1 to 3 tablspoons sesame oil (to taste)
            1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed
            salt to taste
            Optional:
            1 tablespoon Sogogi Dashida (powdered beef soup stock) instead of salt*
            *(or substitute your favorite powdered soup mix or bullion)

            Directions:

            Wash spinach thoroughly in cold water.
            Peel garlic.
            Mince three of the garlic cloves
            Thin slice the other three cloves
            In a soup pot, bring 1 quart of water to full boil.
            Completely immerse spinach in the boiling water.
            Remove from heat at 30 to 45 seconds (no longer than 1 minute) and rinse immediately in cold water.
            Squeeze excess water from spinach.
            Place spinach in a medium mixing bowl then add all ingredients and mix well.
            Serve chilled or at room temperature.

            Variation: Prepare as above but add 1 teaspoon or more of coarse ground dried red chili.

            1. Wash spinach and do not drain. Heat wok and just a bit of neutral oil, toss in minced garlic and touch of grated ginger. Toss in wet spinach and dab of soy sauce, cover and hold lid with one hand and toss with the other so that the spinach is not weighted down as a blob on the bottom of the wok. Splash of white wine if needed to keep the leaves moist. Time needed is as long as it takes for the spinach to wilt down. Serve with spritz of lime. The key is having just enough and not too much moisture.

              1. I do it with just 4 ingredients:
                heat pan with a swirl of olive oil
                add heaps and heaps of baby spinach (cleaned, obviously)
                lower heat, and chop a few cloves of fresh garlic
                add to pan and move them around a bit
                top with good, grated parm. let it melt with residual heat.
                a little cracked black pepper & yer done

                2 Replies
                1. re: Boccone Dolce

                  Thanks for everyone's invaluable advice. I made this dish and it was delicious and simple - not very close to what I remember from China but as above that's just a function of the type of spinach I used I bet. I started w/olive oil, onion and plenty of garlic - I'd skip the onion next time perhaps - a tad overwhelming; threw the spinach in and tossed for no longer than 4 mins. Added balsamic and red pepper flakes toward the end. Delicious. i'll keep trying variations of the recipes above. Thanks again.

                  1. re: mocro

                    If you're using balsamic and red pepper it might be good but I doubt it would taste like the dish you had in China. Omit the balsamic and red pepper and just use oil, garlic, salt and spinach, and stir-fry in a very hot pan or wok. If you still need moreflavor you can also try throwing in a bit of chicken stock, but I never do.

                2. It seems like a lot of these recipes are for an Italian-style spinach and garlic, which is likely not what your husband has been eating in the middle of China. More likely he is having something along these lines:
                  Wash 1 lb. spinach leaves, do not dry. In a wok, heat peanut oil and stir fry 2 minced cloves of garlic with a touch of ginger. When garlic starts to brown, add spinach and stir fry until wilted. Towards the end, add a splash of oyster sauce, some red chili flakes and a touch of sesame oil if you're so inclined.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JungMann

                    I think you're right and I'm going to try this simpler version. Thanks so much.

                    1. re: mocro

                      I have had that as well, don't like it as well, but it is all personal taste. I do add the onion but again personal preference. I like shallots not onion but I have used both. I think the ginger would be nice, not a fan of the oyster sauce, never have been.

                  2. There is no balsamic vinegar in Chinese spinach and garlic.

                    After years of eatting it in both China and in Chinese restaurants at home I have found the following method does not disappoint the family.
                    Wash spinach. Bring large pot of water ---salted---to boil.
                    Heat oil [peanut or canola] in a wok. When oil is hot, add chopped garlic and TURN OFF the heat. this allows garlic to cook lightly and infuse without burning.
                    When water is boiling, take strainer and load with spinach. Dip in and out of the water--in essence blanch spinach. Quickly shake off excess water and toss directly into still pretty hot wok. Stir around to coat spinach with garlicly oil and serve.

                    Until I started doing it this way, the biggest problem I had was not burning garlic or overcooking the spinach. This method doesn't over cook spinach or the garlic.

                    And by the way, in my experience, the "Chinese" spinach has a completely different name in Chinese than in English and a completely different taste. If original poster's husband is raving about spinach i'm pretty sure he means spinach because he would have known the difference or someone would have told him.