One of the Doristas stated that this may be the easiest recipe in the entire book, and she may well be right. It’s steamed spinach. There, done.
Except, this is Dorie we’re dealing with. It’s not quite as bare-bones as that.
We start with spinach. Lots and lots of spinach.
I dislike stems a great deal, so I take the time to remove them. It’s pretty boring. But it’s worth it.
Meanwhile, the steaming apparatus can be warming up. I have three steaming contraptions, all of which I use on occasion but none of which are the steamer basket that Dorie suggests. The method I like to use the most is a microwave steamer, but ten ounces of spinach doesn’t fit into that. Not in one batch anyway. And my big electric steamer is nice, but it needs a good cleaning, and I didn’t feel like messing with it when my counters were already crowded.
Instead, I got out my bamboo steamer, which is my favorite steaming tool. It’s just so cool.
I love this thing. I’ve had it for years, and it’s starting to show its age. It’s easier to use than the electric steamer, and it’s less likely to over-cook than the microwave steamer. It’s also incredibly easy to use. The hardest part is waiting for the pan full of water to boil. Once that’s done, you just set the steamer in the water and let it go for however long the recipe suggests.
In this case, Dorie starts you off with three minutes, suggesting that it might take a couple more than that. Mine took four minutes.
To be honest, this was the only one of Dorie’s directions that I followed. I didn’t even season the spinach beforehand, which is one of the little genius twists on this simple side of steamed spinach. Nor did I add olive oil. Or even any lemon. When I reached for a lemon to zest before setting the spinach to steam, I realized that I was all out of lemons. This hardly ever happens.
Alas, sometimes it does happen.
Fortunately, I like steamed spinach well enough that I didn’t mind. I think Geordie would have preferred the spinach with the olive oil and the lemon, and he’d be right, it is better that way.
I’ve made this lemon-steamed spinach three or four times, and I wouldn’t mind making it more often. The olive oil adds great flavor, and the lemon zest adds a beautiful brightness. It also looks a lot prettier with flecks of yellow adorning all that green. It’s a very simple, very wholesome, very delicious dish that can round out any number of meals. I served mine with Dorie’s “roasted chicken for lazy people,” and it brought a much-needed green-ness to the dinner plate. It’s easily my favorite side dish from Around My French Table, doing well in any season. I could make this once a week and eat it happily every time.
Spinach is one of the few leafy greens that I will eat and never get tired of – in fact, it may be the only one. Though I do enjoy a good spinach salad, steamed is probably my preferred way of cooking it. And this recipe is easily my preferred way of preparing it. It’s a no-fail recipe that gets it done right each time.
Unless you hate spinach, it’s hard not to like this easy side dish. Check out the French Friday links to see how the other Doristas liked it. Happy cooking!