Red Spinach with Homemade Curry Oil

Tom Chino of the legendary Chino Farms in Rancho Sante Fe, California, became one of the first growers in America to plant Bordeaux red spinach, named for its striking red stems and leaf veins. David Myers sautés the tender spinach with a fragrant homemade curry oil; any leftover oil is wonderful with salads and other cooked vegetables.


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  • Servings: 4 to 6

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  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds red spinach or baby green spinach, washed but not dried
  • Salt

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large skillet, combine the cumin, coriander, mustard and fennel seeds with the cardamom and pink and white peppercorns and toast over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool. Add the fenugreek, paprika and cayenne and finely grind the spices.

  2. In a food processor, combine the ground spices with the garlic and shallots and process until fine. With the machine on, add the olive oil and process until a thin paste forms. Return the mixture to the skillet and warm over low heat, about 10 minutes. Transfer the curry oil to a large jar and refrigerate for 2 days.

  3. Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Add the curry oil and strain, pressing on the solids to extract as much oil as possible. You should have about 2/3 cup. Discard the spices.

  4. Fill a soup pot with 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes for red spinach and about 5 minutes for green. Drain the spinach and press it dry, then coarsely chop. Wipe the pot dry.

  5. Add 1/4 cup of the strained curry oil to the pot and heat until shimmering. Add the spinach, season with salt and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, just until heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a bowl and serve.

Make Ahead

The strained curry oil can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Contributed By Published April 2006

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