Recipes for Health – Middle Eastern Spinach With Spices and Yogurt

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August 31, 2008 by Daisy Rose


Variations of this dish are found from Turkey through the Middle East, and no wonder — a combination of subtle spices and cool yogurt make this a wonderful way to eat spinach.

1 clove (1/8 teaspoon ground)

2 allspice berries (1/8 teaspoon ground)

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds or cumin seeds

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 garlic clove, cut in half, green shoots removed (more to taste)

Salt to taste

1 cup drained yogurt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 12-ounce bag baby spinach, washed

1. Heat a small dry skillet over medium heat, and add the clove, allspice berries, and coriander seeds or cumin seeds. Heat, shaking the pan, until the spices begin to smell toasty, about three minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes, then grind in a spice mill. Add the cinnamon, and set aside.

2. In a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt to a paste, and stir into the yogurt. Set aside.

3. Place the baby spinach in a bowl, and add just enough boiling water to cover. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water, squeeze out excess water, and chop coarsely.

4. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy skillet, and add the pine nuts. Stir until they begin color (two to three minutes), then remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the spices to the oil. When they begin to sizzle, cook for about 30 seconds and add the spinach, toasted pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until the spinach is heated through and coated with the oil and spices, two to three minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, and spoon the yogurt over the top.

This is very nice served with Arabic bread.

Variation: Omit the pine nuts, and instead sprinkle 1/4 cup chopped walnuts over the yogurt.

Yield: Serves three

Advance preparation: The spinach can be wilted up to three days ahead and kept in the refrigerator.

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