Katie Button knows a thing or two about Spanish cuisine. Before opening Cúrate, her tapas bar in Asheville, North Carolina, she worked at Spain's now closed El Bulli. At Curate, Button focuses on transforming exceptional ingredients into delectable small plates that honor traditional Spanish tapas. Exhibit A: this popular spinach side dish from the Catalonia region. Plump raisins, crisp green apples, pine nuts and lemon zest boost the greens' basic appeal, and a spoonful of dry sherry delivers a taste of Spain in every bite.
Espinacas a la Catalana (Catalan Spinach)
Recipe adapted from Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 cup water
¼ cup raisins
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium Granny Smith apple, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 pound baby spinach
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from about half a medium lemon)
Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the raisins to the hot water. Set aside to rehydrate until plump, about 5 minutes. Strain the raisins and set aside on paper towels to drain.
2. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the apples and cook gently until they're soft but still retain their texture, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins, shallot and toasted pine nuts. Cook until the shallot is soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sherry and spinach, tossing to coat. Season with salt and lemon juice and immediately remove the skillet from the heat before the spinach is completely wilted.
3. Use a pair of tongs to remove the spinach from the pan and place in a serving dish, leaving any water behind in the skillet. Top the spinach with the lemon zest and serve immediately.