Sautéed Spinach with Orange and Garlic
In the Mani, the southern part of the Peloponnese and one of the agriculturally poorest parts of the country, little else besides citrus and olive trees flourish. I sampled this humble dish in the home of a local cook many years ago and have made it countless times over the years. Oranges and olive oil and a generous dose of garlic provide the flavor palette that enhances the spinach. I haven’t seen this combination of flavors anywhere else in Greece.
lb/700 g fresh flat-leaf spinach
large navel orange
cup/160 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
Salt to taste
Wash and spin dry the spinach. Using a sharp knife, cut the rind of the orange into 1-in/2.5-cm strips, getting some of the pith and fruit as you go.
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the spinach. As soon as the spinach wilts, add the garlic, season with salt, and add the slices of orange rind. Cover the skillet, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook the spinach for about 20 minutes until dark and completely soft. Serve warm in a deep dish or bowl, together with the cooking juices, garlic, and rind.