Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Apr 30, 2013

Catalan Spinach

Libations used: 1 Tbs dry sherry
Libations left over: Make this after-dinner cocktail, because it's what classy people do...
About every Sunday, my girl friends and I get together for dinner and cook for each other.  We typically rotate amongst our apartments and contribute dishes.  My friend was making salmon with a yogurt sauce and wanted me to bring something green, citrusy and on the light side.  I found this recipe on Tasting Table for Catalan Spinach that hails from Cúrate in Asheville, NC.  It's a popular tapas bar (that I haven't been to...yet) that's headed up by Chef Katie Button who worked at Spain's legendary and now closed El Bulli.  The lightly wilted spinach gets a boost with the addition of cooked apples, lemon zest, pine nuts and raisins, and of course, sherry.  I used golden raisins in this recipe to give it some added spring color.

Catalan Spinach - serves 4-6
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a medium Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1 Tbs finely chopped shallot
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (set your oven to 325 and toast on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, shaking after 5 minutes)
  • 1 Tbs dry sherry
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
- Turn off the heat and add the raisins to plump them up, for about 5 minutes.
- Strain the raisins and let them dry on some paper towels.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil.
- Add the apples and cook them gently until they're a little soft (about 3 minutes).
- Add the raisins, shallot and pine nuts and cook until the shallot is translucent (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add the sherry and spinach and toss to coat.
- Season with some salt and the lemon juice.
- Immediately remove the skillet from the heat so the spinach doesn't completely wilt.
- Using tongs, remove the spinach from the skillet into a serving dish.
- Top with the lemon zest and serve immediately.