Tuesday, March 15, 2005


It’s perverse to post a salad recipe today, seeing as it is International Eat an Animal for PETA Day, but I figure you need to have something to accompany that nice Prime Rib, porterhouse, filet mignon, T-bone, New York strip, cheeseburger, saddle of lamb, or what have you. And a little roughage is not only good for you, it’s tasty, too!

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Bro-in-Law d’Elisson, who spent a couple of years living with us as he studied for his degree in Culinary Arts at the Art Institute of Houston. And the post title should tell you that there’s plenty of garlic in this bad boy.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Pine Nuts and Dried Currants

Nice pile of fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
Quarter-cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
Quarter-cup pine nuts
Quarter-cup dried currants
Pecorino Romano cheese

Put the washed and dried spinach leaves in a bowl.

Toast the pine nuts in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, shaking frequently, until golden brown. Do not let ’em burn: the idea is to bring out the full aroma of the pine nuts without turning them into little carbonized Pellets o’ Death. Set aside.

Meanwhile, soak the currants in a dish of warm water.

Throw the garlic in a small saucepan with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Let it get nice and hot so that small bubbles appear, but do not let the garlic brown. When the oil is hot, dump it (and the garlic!) into the bowl with the spinach. Toss well until the spinach is slightly wilted.

Throw in the toasted pine nuts. Drain the currants and throw them in, too.

Toss well, then cover liberally with freshly grated Pecorino Romano. Toss again to distribute the cheese, then finish off with additional grated cheese on top.

Feeling adventurous? Use dried blueberries instead of the dried currants. You don’t need to soak ’em, by the way, but some folks like a softer texture to their dead fruit.

I love this salad, I really do. Sometimes I love it a little too much, and there are consequences, mainly owing to the high concentration of garlic and chlorophyll. But I will graciously spare you the details.

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