Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spinach Sauté (Sotelenmiş Ispanak)

The main two ingredients for this simple and nutritious dish is from our local farmer’s market. This dish can be eaten with pasta, rice or even potatoes. You may also use it for a filling in böreks (Pastries filled with spinach, cheese or meat). It’s light and can be served for lunch or dinner or as a side dish.

Thousands of years ago, spinach was used for medicinal purposes. Spinach is known for improving blood quality, restoring energy and increasing vitality. This dark green leaf vegetable is an excellent source of iron and lutein; a type of carotine which is beneficial for good eye sight and preventing eye related diseases. Of course with its dark leaves, it is a wonderful protector against various cancers. Many other health benefits exist for spinach but I will not dwell into that here as it would take a very long post just to describe the benefits of the spinach.

2 bunches of spinach
7 large green onions (chopped)
½ tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

Wash the spinach thoroughly. In a large pot, boil water and add the spinach in the boiled water for 2 minutes. Do not keep them in the boiled water longer as their texture will become mushy. Immediately run the spinach under cold water in order to stop the cooking process. Create small balls from the spinach and give them a nice squeeze to remove the excess water in the spinach. Chop each spinach ball coarsely and with your hands, separate the spinach leaves from each other as sticking together will hinder the salt and spices to get inside the spinach.

Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onions and sauté for 2-4 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add the spinach to the onions. Add the rest of the ingredients and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Make sure the salt and pepper are distributed evenly in the spinach.

Enjoy with rice or bulgur pilafs or any kind of pasta. Also, this can be used as filling for any type of börek.

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Reeni♥ said...

I love Spinach! I made a very similar dish the other night but I also added in a little garlic. When I was putting up my award post the other day I tried to get to your blog because I know that you also gave me the Lemonade award(I didn't forget!) but blogger wouldn't let me onto your site. It said that your site was not available. But I have updated now to also include you in the giving of my Lemonade Award. Thanks again!

Laurie Constantino said...

Spinach tastes so good cooked this way - easy to do but it has so much flavor. Love those farmers' markets!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Reeni, I usually add garlic too, but this time since I put lots of onions in it, I decided to keep the garlic out. No sweat about the award thing! It's all good.

Laurie, that's true for sure. It's simple, but also tastes good.

Navita said...

Plz accept my appreciation :)

Mediterranean kiwi said...

such a simple dish - so full of flavour. this makes an excellent filling in the cretan kalitsounia (small spinach pasties)

lisaiscooking said...

I love spinach with some spicy heat, and this sounds great. What type of pastry is used to make boreks?

yasmeen said...

That was quick saute of the healthy green,love it with rice and lentils:)

Summer said...

such a simple and tasty dish! I love the use of spinach in cooking, salads, as a side dish or a main dish...I would make this recipe, add a squeeze of lemon juice to it and just dip it with pita yummy!
lovely recipe!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Navita, thank you.

Med kiwi, you're so right, this spinach dish can be a filling for so many different pastries, especially in the Mediterranean region.

Lisa, in Turkey, tradtionally boreks are made with 'yufka' a thin round dough that is thicker than phyllo dough. However, many other pastries can be used, such as puff pastry, phyllo dough, home made dough. I have a recipe coming using this filling (a little more spiced up version) with home made dough.

Yasmeen, don't you love it when it's simple and tastes good?

Summer, yes spinach with a squeeze of lemon in pita or flat bread sounds good. Now, I just remembered, my late grandmother used to do that. It tasted good!