When Glenn and I moved out of my brother’s and into our own house, we joined Costco so we could stock up on basics like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, flour, and rice. Now that we have a lifetime supply of these items, we’re not sure what to do with our membership. Last week I wandered into the produce section and nonchalantly tossed a 2½-pound bag of baby spinach into my cart. I didn’t realize the size of my mistake until I tried to put the giant bag into my fridge. So I consulted some old friends and came up with about 17 million ways to eat spinach.
Option 1: Toss a salad. Perhaps the most obvious solution to the spinach problem, but eating a salad for every meal until kingdom come doesn’t have to be as tedious as it sounds. You can peruse Bittman’s list of 101 Simple Salads for the Season to get a few ideas or, to get ideas for this season, pick up a copy of Bittman’s Kitchen Express.
Option 2: Saute it. Many winter dishes taste fabulous with a pile of sauteed spinach on the side, on top, or mixed in. We happened to have a pot of dal in the fridge, which was perfectly complemented by a few handfuls of sauteed spinach. We also ate the sauteed stuff piled on top of mushroom ragu and polenta, but I’ll talk more about that later.
Option 3: Use an actual recipe. I was surprised by how many recipes I had saved that featured spinach. Believe it or not, we didn’t have enough spinach left to try this soup from the Pioneer Woman, but we did make a tapas dish from Smitten Kitchen. However, Glenn and I thought that since it had a protein, a vegetable, and a starch, Espinicas con Garbanzos was a well-balanced dinner and we ate it as such.
Option 4: Variations on a theme. I learned several years ago how to make spanikopita from a college friend with a Greek family. It makes an impressive party dish, but is really too much trouble for a weeknight dinner for two. Rather than buttering (and inevitably tearing) countless sheets of phyllo, I served the spinach, onion, and feta over whole-wheat pasta. It was both delicious and simple.
½ lbs. whole-wheat pasta, cooked al dente
4 Tbs. butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups baby spinach
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
grated Parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onion. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook about 30 minutes or until onion is caramelized.
When the onion is brown and caramelized, add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the spinach, stirring until the leaves are wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add ¼ tsp. nutmeg if you want to be really Greek.
Scoop half the noodles onto each plate, top each with half the spinach mixture, half the feta, and some grated Parmesan. Serve with a lemon wedge.