I have loved Spanish food since I was a kid, but I’ve come to appreciate the art of a Spanish meal since meeting my half-Spanish husband. So much more than the delicious food itself, I’ve learned that a Spanish meal is a leisurely affair filled with good conversation. The word sobremesa, which translates to “over the table”, is the term used for the long and relaxing period at the end of the meal: you’ve finished your food, but you’re not quite ready for the enjoyable conversation to finish. Since our new apartment actually has a big enough kitchen for a table (a rarity in San Francisco), my husband and I have been enjoying sobremesa together each evening. Where we once ate on the couch with the TV on, we now get to enjoy more quality time together. It’s been wonderful and I hope we can keep it up.
While most people think of bacon-wrapped dates and ham, there are some really fantastic Spanish vegetarian recipes out there. In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorites with you. These are my standbys at restaurants, but they’re simple enough to make at home and don’t require any obscure ingredients. The first recipe I’m featuring is Catalan-style spinach, which is sauteed spinach with pine nuts and raisins. Ever since I tried it, it’s been my favorite way to eat spinach.
You wouldn’t think a recipe with such a short list of ingredients could be so flavorful, but the way everything comes together is divine. The base of the recipe is bit of minced garlic and a shallot, which the spinach soaks up beautifully. A splash of sherry vinegar adds a slightly tart and sweet flavor, while plump raisins and toasted pine nuts offer up a chewy and crunchy element. For being so healthy, this really feels like a treat. And the best part? It’s ready in under 10 minutes.
So the next time you’re looking for an easy side dish, I urge you to give this a try. I don’t think it will disappoint!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 6 oz. bags of fresh spinach
- ½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large pan, sautee the shallot in the olive oil over medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, or until the shallot becomes translucent.
- Add the garlic and raisins and cook for about one minute.
- Add the spinach, sherry vinegar, pine nuts and salt, stirring often so the spinach cooks evenly. As soon as the spinach has wilted, remove from eat. Add additional salt to taste and serve immediately.
Note: I find sherry vinegar quite easily these days, but if you can’t find it, try a splash of sherry wine or apple cider vinegar instead.