Catalonia, a region in Northeastern Spain, is know for its very own distinctive cuisine. Throughout history, Roman, Moorish, and New World influences infused the area with new and unique ingredients. It was the Moors who introduced the cultivation of almonds, citrus fruits, eggplant and spinach and the use of spices like cumin, nutmeg, saffron, and black pepper. Today, Catalan dishes are known for the way they combine savory and sweet ingredients and their unique pairing of spices.
This recipe for Catalan Style Greens with Sultanas (aka, golden raisins), Garlic and Pine nuts, is a perfect example of how they use savory and sweetness to elevate dishes. The toasted pine nuts add a bit of richness and lovely texture. Also, know that any wilt-able green can be used –but traditionally, the green of choice in Catalonia is spinach. I’ve been making with this with swiss chard, baby kale, bok choy, and stray beet tops – it’s a great way to clear out the fridge.
Here I have chard from Urban Eden Farm and a few leftover beet tops that needed to be used up. Remember, the more tender the green, the less time it will take to wilt. Sturdier beet tops and kale will take longer, while spinach will wilt within minutes.
Chop the greens and make sure you have 5-6 cups packed.
Garlic, onion, apple, sultanas and pine nuts give this dish its authentic flavor, but if you have pine nut allergies or are out of golden raisins, feel free to substitute silvered almonds or regular raisins….or another dried fruit like cranberries or even apricots.
Sultana, if unfamiliar, is the name of the variety of white grape used to make golden raisins…they are often called “sultanas” in recipes and on menus.
Enjoy this as a healthy vegetable side with summer greens, and throughout the fall and winter. It’s delicious with grilled summer meats, and as the temperatures start to cool, it also pairs well with fall roasts and long winter braises. Happy weekend to you!!
- ½ onion, thinly sliced ( about ¾ cup)
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ an apple, diced
- 4-6 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- ¼ Cup golden raisins
- ¼ Cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ Cup hard cider, sherry or white wine
- 5 Cups packed greens- spinach, chard, beet tops, kale- chopped
- salt to taste
- pinch of sugar, nutmeg and white pepper
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom big pot or dutch oven over medium high heat.
- Add sliced onion and stir until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add apple, saute 3-4 minutes, add garlic, saute a few more minutes, until fragrant.
- Add raisins, hard cider and greens, turn heat to medium-low, cover and let cook 5 minutes.
- Give a stir, and continue cooking until desired tenderness. Spinach will cook much faster than chard, kale or beet tops. One tender, season.
- Add a pinch of salt, sugar, nutmeg and white pepper