Mergers and acquisitions are not special occasions normally covered by cookbooks and magazines, so I was on my own trying to figure out how pull a Bay Area meal out of my New England refrigerator. We were having miso marinated sable for the third time that week, but there is no such thing as too much sable, trust me. The side dish needed some help though. It was going to be spinach with pine nuts and raisins. Not that it wasn't a good dish, but we had it 3 times in a row that week. That's what happens when you buy a bag of spinach at Costco, which I highly recommend by the way since you don't need to wash or stem it. I was digging through my vegetables drawer for ideas and came across kumquats. They are very aromatic little oranges the size of an olive that you can eat skin and all. These ones were particularly tart and juicy and made a perfect addition to the spinach. The dish turned out so well, I'll try to buy spinach and kumquats together on purpose next time.
Normally, we'd have a Riesling with this dish, but this was an occasion that required something bubbly. Since neither one of us particularly likes Champagne (I know -- we are weird), Jason got us a Sparkling Rose from Bugey. It was so good we finished the bottle in no time.
Spinach with Kumquats
Note: if kumquats are not an option, substitute them with a generous squirt of fresh lemon juice
1 Lb spinach
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red chili flakes or to taste (optional)
8-12 kumquats, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup golden raisins, plumped in hot water for 5 minutes
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
- If using mature spinach, remove the stems.
- Set a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add garlic and chili flakes and cook stirring constantly until just a hint of color develops, 30-60 seconds.
- Add spinach, cover the skillet, and cook stirring occasionally until spinach is mostly wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Add kumquats, drained raisins and pine nuts. Cook stirring to warm them through, 1-2 minutes. Take off heat, stir in butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.