Spinach Catalan style and Shrimp with Garlic

August 19, 2009 § 1 Comment

Here are two more recipes from the tapas party that I promised. I first had the spinach dish at Jaleo in D.C. and I think it’s part of the reason I recently overcame my aversion to green and leafy vegetables (yes, I was one of those kids). The toastiness and crunch of the pine nuts adds really great flavor as well, and plumping the raisins in the hot water beforehand makes all the difference.

The shrimp was definitely the most popular dish of the night. We didn’t even bother with transferring it to a nice serving platter; I just moved the hot saute pan from the stove and set it on the counter, right before every one attacked the garlicky olive oil with crusty slices of bread. I think we bought about 2 pounds of smaller sized shrimp, and within 25-30 minutes, we had eaten it all. It was so good that we couldn’t even stop eating it even if we wanted to! It’s also something that anyone, even complete kitchen novices, can make so if you’ve never cooked anything before, I HIGHLY recommend letting this be your first attempt.

Spinach with raisins and pine nuts

1/4 cup raisins
1 pound of fresh spinach, stems removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nutes
salt and black pepper to taste

Soak the raisins in hot water for about 10 minutes, until they become plump. Wash the spinach, but don’t completely dry the leaves. Steam in a large saute pan until they’ve become wilted and tender, less than 5 minutes. When the spinach is cooler, squeeze out all excess moisture and chop roughly.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, drizzle in olive oil over medium heat and add the pine nuts and raisins. Stir occasionally, until the pine nuts have become toasted and slightly golden. Add the spinach and sautee for about another 4-5 minutes until everything glistens. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot or at room temperature.

Shrimp with garlic

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (it must be EVOO, the fruitiness really adds to the flavor)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced as thin as possible
1 pound peeled shrimp (in this case, it’s better if the shrimp are on the smaller side)
coarse salt to taste (NO black pepper)
chopped parsley for garnish

On medium heat, combine oil and garlic in a deep skillet or saute pan. When the garlic begins to sizzle and turn golden, add the shrimp. Cook and stir until the shrimp have become opaque. About 3-4 minutes. MAKE SURE that you don’t overcook the shrimp, otherwise they get all nasty and rubbery and the dish is ruined (no pressure!).

Stir in however much salt you want, garnish with parsley and serve immediately, directly from the pan. The sauce tastes AMAZING with good country bread.

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