Lately, we are having our dinners, out in our balcony. I do not mean to brag about it, but our balcony is looking over to the Atlantic Ocean. There is always a nice breeze coming from the ocean.
Believe me, in the hot, “always summer” days of the Caribbean Islands, you need this kind of breeze in your life.
Sometimes we open a bottle of wine and just enjoy it while listening the sound of the ocean. To accompany our “Ocean Breeze and Wine” evenings, lately, I have been experimenting on making several small dishes instead of a big-meal dinner. My husband Dwight loves it, especially because he comes home pretty late from work and does not want to have a heavy meal at that time of the day.
I love small dishes because (1) they are, usually, easy and quick to make and (2) full of flavor. Not to mention, they go so well with a bottle of wine.
When I think about small dishes, I either look for tapas, Spanish appetizers, or meze, Middle Eastern appetizers. Both cuisines are full of Mediterranean flavors like olive oil, tomatoes and fresh herbs.
This Catalan Style Spinach is a fantastic Spanish Tapas dish, that is quick and easy to make. When I say quick, it is really quick.
Like “cook the onions, sweat the spinach, add the nuts and raisons and season to taste” quick….
When I google’d “Catalan”, I found out that Catalonia is in the Northeast part of Spain and they are known with their distinctive cuisine called “Cuina Casalona”. One thing that they are famous for is to squash a tomato, spread it on a bread and drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil. They call this “Pan con Tomate” and it is served with everywhere with everything.
A chef named, Chef José Andrés, invented this spinach dish and named it Catalan-Style Spinach because he believe that this dish demonstrates the Catalonian penchant for making savory food sweet with the addition of dried fruits. Come to find, he is credited as the chef who brought the “small dishes dining” concept to the U.S. and owns several restaurants in several U.S. cities.
So here is a wonderful Catalan-Style Spinach dish from La Cocina de los Sanford ♥
We opened a bottle of Chianti (my favorite red wine) and ate it with grilled bread and roasted tomatoes.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 1 lb. spinach, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ black pepper, freshly grounded
- Soak the raisons in hot water and let it plumb up for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil; cook the spinach for 2-3 minutes. Drain and squeeze the excess liquid.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until the onions turn pink, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the spinach, raisons, pine nuts, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes.
- Serve right away.