Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 15, 2017
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Spinach with raisins and pine nuts (Espinacas con pasas y piñones)

Any time raisins and pine nuts are in a Spanish recipe, you can be sure its origins are Moorish. This dish is equally at home in Catalonia or Andalusia.

Málaga is home to Spain’s most spectacular raisins. Swiss chard prepared the same way (acelgas a la malagueña) is popular there, though, in true Moorish tradition, without the ham.

¼ c. (60 ml) raisins

¼ c. (60 ml) pine nuts

3 tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil, plus 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) for the nuts (optional)

1 small onion, chopped or 3 oz. (90 g) Serrano ham, minced (both optional)

2 lbs. (1 kg) spinach, tough stems removed and rinsed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the raisins with hot water to cover and set aside to plump for 30 minutes.

In a small, dry frying pan, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until fragrant and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool. Alternatively, toast in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 8 minutes.

Or, if you prefer the flavour of sautéed pine nuts, heat a little oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the nuts, sauté until golden and fragrant, and then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons (45 ml) oil over medium heat. Add the onion or ham, if using, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened and translucent (10 minutes) or the ham is lightly coloured (5 minutes). Add the spinach with the rinsing water clinging to its leaves (if the leaves are especially large, tear or cut them into smaller pieces) and cook, turning and stirring constantly with tongs, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Drain the raisins and add to the pan along with the pine nuts. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm. Serves 4 to 6.

Spanish wine: Verdejo (Rueda), Albariño/blend (Galicia)

Non-Spanish wine: Viognier (California), off-dry Riesling (Germany, Washington)

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