A few weeks back an acquaintance remarked to me how difficult she found it to sauté spinach and garlic. Her hope was to prepare boiling hot spinach in the garlic and olive oil served right out onto the table but expressed she was continually burning or browning the garlic along with resulting unevenly cooked spinach, does this ever happen to you? Sometimes the simplest items in food preparation present difficulty to the home cook but this is not an indicator of skill, only one of learning technique, adjusting processes to fit your own needs.
I can think of few skills more misunderstood than cooking. People take for granted that everyone should know how to cook, even naturally. While there are many folks who have a natural ability in creative food preparation even among these, they have also had to learn correct processes as well as adjusted techniques to fit varying situations from professional to home equipment.
It is important to cook spinach at a high temperature so that it cooks quickly and does not stew in its own juice particularly since spinach contains such high water content. Still, to make things a bit easier when cooking spinach at home is after washing your spinach, dry it well, but leave the slightest amount of moisture clinging to the leaves that will assist you in preventing burning your garlic.
Heat your sauté pan to very hot before adding in the olive oil and rapidly swirling the olive oil to cover all parts of the pan, add in your garlic and reduce the temperature for about fifteen seconds before raising the temperature back to the highest heat and immediately adding the spinach to the pan. Use tongs or shake your pan flipping the spinach so it cooks evenly and very rapidly with the garlic. Add a pinch of kosher salt if desired and transfer your boiling hot spinach with garlic to a platter serving immediately.
I hope this technique will assist you in the quick preparation of Sauteed Spinach with Garlic in olive oil as well as a properly prepared side dish that will enhance with some practice, even in cooking simplicities, the skies the limit.
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 8-10 ounces fresh spinach, approximately, cleaned, dried well with the slightest amount of moisture remaining
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, or enough to thinly cover the bottom of the saute pan
- sprinkle of kosher salt, if desired
- Heat large round saute pan to hot then add in the olive oil swirling to cover pan. Add in chopped garlic then reduce heat for about ten seconds while shaking the pan to keep garlic moving, return burner to highest heat and immediately add in fresh spinach, using tongs or shaking well rapidly moving spinach and garlic about the pan to cook evenly and very quickly to prevent spinach from stewing in its own liquid. Sprinkle kosher salt over spinach if desired then immediately remove spinach from pan and serve.
- Alternatively, for Asian style spinach side dish stir in a small drop of sesame oil at the very end of sauteing and top with sesame seeds.