Friday, April 13, 2012

ximena meier's espinacas con garbanzos

When I was sixteen, I moved to Spain for my junior year of high school. I'd never been there before, but I was craving a change, so off I went to spend a colorful, confusing, heady nine months in Zaragoza. 

In the springtime, my mother flew out to visit me so we could spent the Easter holiday together. She had never been to Spain before and we spent something like ten days hopping around the country- from Barcelona to Granada, Cordoba to Sevilla. There are certain moments that ten years later still stand out with perfect clarity: a bullfight on Easter Sunday in Sevilla, which was beautiful and moving in a way I never would have expected; the floats gliding down the jam-packed streets during Holy Week; the nazarenos in their ominous pointed caps; lunch at El Rinconcillo and eating espinacas con garbanzos.

I'd eaten this often in Zaragoza- sometimes with tomato sauce, sometimes without, but it was always delicious. My mother had never had it before and I still remember how delighted she seemed- by Sevilla, by El Rinconcillo, and by the garbanzos con espinacas

{with poached eggs on top}

Months back, I spied a recipe for garbanzos con espinacas on Ximena Meier's blog Lobstersquad. I hadn't thought of the dish in years. I knew I had to make it, and make it I did. I served it to Daniel for dinner one night, topping his portion with a couple of poached eggs, and he declared it one of the best things I'd ever made for dinner. For serious, people fall in love with this stuff. I bet you will too.  

Espinacas con garbanzos, original recipe found here, with ideas from here as well

3 cloves garlic,
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
30oz canned garbanzo beans
3/4 lb spinach
1 inch slice country bread, crusts removed and cut into cubes
smoked Spanish paprika to finish

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and add 3tbsp of olive oil. Add spinach and a pinch of salt, cooking until just tender. Set aside.

Using a frying pan, fry the bread for 5 minutes in 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat, then add the final tbsp of olive oil, the garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 more minute.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and add vinegar. Blend mixture to a paste, then return to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and the tomato sauce. Heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the spinach. Serve hot with a sprinkling of the smoked paprika. Devour.

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