SPINACH & other GREENS, 3 STEP SAUTE, & TARRAGON CREAM
We like to cook spinach and most greens in three stages, starting with 1/3 of the total amount in the pan for a few minutes; followed by the second layer which is cooked a little more; and finally the 3rd layer is added and the heat turned off. The greens are warmed but not fully cooked when they are also folded into the entire batch. Thus each layer brings a different amount of cooking and therefore more variety of texture.
In contrast if the full batch is cooked all together, the final cook can be very soggy and even slimy. In addition when just cooking spinach alone with one stage until cooked, it may present an annoying trait: it leaves a chalky feeling on our teeth, something we don’t notice when we are eating raw spinach. The 3 stage cook method, cooked, uncooked and almost raw spinach produces less of the chalky tooth feeling than fully cooked spinach. Try it to see what you think!
1 Tablespoons shallots, minced
- 1 Tablespoons garlic, minced
- 4 bunches fresh spinach, cleaned(*), chopped
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter
- 2-4 tablespoons reduced heavy cream
- To taste, sea salt, ground pepper, ground coriander
- Splash of Pernod, optional
- 2 Tablespoon Panko bread crumbs, optional
- 2 teaspoon tarragon, chopped
Heat EVOO in sauté pan; add shallots and garlic; sauté until aromatic and slightly translucent. Add 1/3 of the spinach and cook until it’s tender. Fold in second 1/3 and continue cooking 2-3 minutes. Add butter and cream and season with spices. Add Pernod if using and cook for 10 more seconds; adjust consistency with breadcrumbs if using and needed, and finish with tarragon. Remove from heat and add last 1/3 of spinach, allowing it to wilt from the heat of the cooked mixture. Serve warm.
To clean spinach that is fairly clean and not sandy, put it in basket of a salad spinner, a 1/3 at a time. Run under gentle stream of cold water, turning while dirt runs off. Shake gently and spin in the salad spinner. Place into clean bowl till all spinach is prepared. Layer clean batches with paper towel after spinning. Hold briefly in refrigerator if not using immediately. Spinach done this way is ready for cooking and/or fresh salad. In most recipes, no extra water is needed to cook it because of its own water content.
For very sandy spinach, place into a bowl of cold water and swish. Lift out and change water; put back into cold water and swish; lift out and continue until no sand remains in water. Remember, key to success is lifting out the spinach rather than pour out with water which will just coat the spinach with sand again.