My family is part Lebanese, and my parents are two of the best cooks on the planet. Every few weeks when I was growing up, we’d make a Lebanese feast together: lamb kebabs, hummus, homemade pita bread, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush… and with the leftover dough from pitas, my dad would make spinach pies: golden brown triangles of tender, homemade dough stuffed with spinach and onion that had a light, lemony zing.
These days, I’m not eating that lovely doughy crust, but when I found two giant bunches of fresh spinach in my fridge, I decided to re-visit the spinach filling.
I have a confession to make: I’m not spinach’s number one fan.
In fact, on my list of favorite greens (Doesn’t everyone have a list of favorite greens?!), spinach languishes all the way down there at number seven. See?
Mel’s Favorite Greens
3. Turnip Tops
4. Beet Tops
6. Bok Choy
1,000,000. Mustard Greens
But thanks to this recipe inspired by my dad, I’m a new convert! This recipe is unusual and a nice change of pace for a few reasons:
1. It doesn’t include garlic, which is almost sacrilege in my house. But the onions really work on their own and give it a cleaner, fresher flavor.
2. There’s no cumin (a.k.a., my favorite spice). I know! Shocking. But again, the bright flavors shine without the earthiness of the cumin, which makes this a really nice accompaniment to OTHER things cooked with cumin. Like lamb burgers.
3. It has minimal ingredients and tons of taste.
I’ve eaten this spinach for three days in a row, and I can’t get enough: alongside mini lamb burgers, scrambled with eggs and shrimp, sauteed with chopped tomatoes and grilled chicken. I think it tastes best with fresh spinach, but frozen will do, too. It’s not fussy!
|This is not my spinach, but it looked just like this.|
Lemony Spinach a la TMJ (Thomas Michael Joulwan, a.k.a., my dad)
1 lb. fresh spinach, or 16 oz. package frozen
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons pine nuts, optional
1. If using fresh spinach, wash well (very well! no grit here!), dry the leaves, then coarsely chop. If using frozen, defrost the package, then squeeze out all excess water. Fluff the leaves before cooking.
2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and pine nuts, if using. Cook until the onions are translucent, soft, and beginning to get brown bits.
3. Add the spinach, stirring gently to allow the leaves to wilt. When they’re beginning to get soft, add the lemon juice and stir with a little more fervor.
4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Eat!
13 Responses to “Lemony Spinach (a la TMJ)”
Post a comment
Like what you've read? Got something to say? Lay it on me!