Wilted spinach is addicting. It’s also an amazingly easy way to eat lots of spinach in a hurry. I like mine served with a side of lentil salad, with grilled salmon, or even tucked around buckwheat noodles.
Now, any good Southern cook will tell you that you just can’t cook good greens without using a little pork fat. Honestly, it’s better with the pork fat. But if you object, this will work just fine with some good quality cooking oil. I’ve made it vegetarian style for my Dad, and it was still delicious.
Leftovers (if I have any) are good tossed with pasta and goat cheese for a quick pasta salad. They also can be added to an omelette, tossed into a lentil salad, or added to many broth based soups.
Ingredients for Wilted Spinach
- 8 cups baby spinach
- 1 onion (or a bunch of garlic, up to you)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon fat
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon (or more) balsamic vinegar or syrup
How to Make Wilted Spinach step by step
Start by cooking some bacon if you feel like it, or just put two tablespoons or so of bacon fat or olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
This time, I’d just finished cooking some bacon in the pan. I drained most of the oil, leaving all the bacon crunchies and about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the bottom of the pan. Then I chopped up about 2 cups of onion into a small dice.
Caramelize the onion in the bacon fat until it’s all limp and golden and sweet.
Then, fill the pot with fresh baby spinach. This was two of the small bags worth (about 8 cups).
Use a pair of tongs and toss the greens to get all the leaves coated with the oil (bacon fat) and onion. The leaves will start to turn a bright green and look almost translucent. If you pulled everything out of the pot right then, you’d have one of the best spinach salads you can imagine (just dress with some balsamic vinegar, add bacon and hard boiled egg). Or, you can keep going. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Give it about two minutes.
It went from 8 cups to about 3 cups worth of volume. Use a slotted spoon and remove it to a serving bowl. Dress it with about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (syrup if you have it), a handful of kosher salt, and a few grinds of cracked black pepper.
This made enough to serve three to four people. Remember that you started out with a huge volume of raw spinach!
Frugal truth — this works with less than perfectly fresh spinach leaves (think of it as using pre-wilted wilted spinach). Don’t use anything that stinks or is slimy. But this is a great way to use spinach that isn’t quite fresh enough for salads. The same cooking method will work with virtually any green with adjustments in cooking time.Buffer