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Pairing spinach with a main dish?

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I've been watching Master Chef (UK cooking programme). One of the professional chef judges, John Torode, is always going on about how iron-rich spinach doesn't go with whatever savory main dish the contestant has cooked. (Sorry, can't recall the dishes.)

Beyond standard recipes using spinach, how do you know how to pair it? Is there some sort of "litmus test"?

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  1. I think spinach goes with most items. I like sauteed with seafood, fish or chicken/pork, creamed with beef.

    What preparations are typically for the spinach?

    1 Reply
    1. re: melpy

      A Croatian dish of boiled potatoes and spinach (blitva there) pairs nicely with grilled fish and meat.

    2. I don't get this at all. Sure, spinach has iron, but it doesn't give off a mineral taste to me at least.
      Liver? Yes. Spinach? Never evoked the same experience as liver.
      Spinach, as well as most leafy greens, are complimentary to savory dishes that run the spectrum from chicken to beef to pork to lamb.
      Sounds like a personal hang up, like Scott Conant's aversion to raw red onion and cheese combined with seafood.

      2 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        I totally agree. Sauteed spinach was a regular side to grilled whole fish with olive oil and lemon and roasted or boiled potatoes all along the Adriatic.

        I'd not only pair sauteed spinach with pretty much any protein, but I frequently toss it (or baby kale or arugula) right into stews from all over the world which have ingredients that are lacking (in my opinion) a leafy green vegetable. It saves me having to make a completely separate salad course when I don't wish to do so.

        I suppose spinach with any iron-rich organ meats might be a) redundant and b) competitive, taste-wise.

        1. re: 1sweetpea

          To your point of spinach with olive oil and lemon, this is a perfect, bright foil for a deep braise.