An addictive mélange of spinach, garlic, raisins, pine nuts, and good olive oil, this is one of the best-known Catalan dishes. Its uses in the Catalan kitchen are many—in croquettes or egg tortillas, as a topping for cocas (flatbreads), as a filling for savory turnovers or cannelloni, or as a base for baked fish. As a side dish, it goes with just about anything, and nothing beats it in the morning on toast, topped with poached eggs. The recipe is also great made with other wilted greens, such as chard or escarole.
1Place the raisins in a small bowl, add very hot water to cover, and soak until plump, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels, then set aside.
2Rinse but do not drain the spinach. Place the spinach in a large saucepan over medium heat and cover the pan. Cook the spinach until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Transfer the spinach to a colander, and squeeze out the excess moisture by pressing on the spinach with the back of a spoon. Chop the spinach coarsely. (The spinach can be prepared a few hours ahead up to this point.)
3Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over low heat. Add the garlic, pine nuts, and soaked raisins, and cook until the nuts and the garlic are light golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the chopped spinach, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring to combine evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste, transfer to a serving bowl, and serve.
Beverage pairing: A refreshing glass of cava, a sparkling wine from the Catalonia region of Spain, will provide the perfect balance to this sweet, nutty, and savory dish. Because of the slight bitterness of the spinach, you will want to avoid wines with high alcohol levels or too much oak. The NV Sumarroca Cava is a sure bet.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.