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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Skinny Gourmet Packs a Picnic: Espinacas Con Garbanzos

Espinacas con Garbanzo is a light and summery dish that is perfect for a picnic. It packs well, serves neatly as a dip for small toasts, and has an interesting and novel combination of flavors. It is a favorite dish from Seville that I brought home to Chicago. Summertime in Chicago this year has been one of the best in memory. My husband and I recently bought a bocce ball set, and have been playing down in the park by Lake Michigan. It is fun to finish evenings at the park with a picnic. This summer I'll be featuring some of my favorite original recipes to create a healthy picnic with style.

This dish comes from a trip to Spain with my childhood best friend. Spain is currently home to some of the most innovative cuisine and chefs, but my heart fell for the traditional tapas. While in Spain's southern region of Andalucia, my favorite tapas dish was "espinacas con garbanzo." There is something delightful about walking off the cobbled side streets of Seville into a dark taverna for a hot plate of espinacas con garbanzo. They serve it dowsed in the region's olive oil, but I have lightened this dish. The lemon and garlic perfectly balance the earthiness of the spinach. The first thing I did when I got home was tried to recreate the dish from my memory of the taste. The recipe for this fabulous summer dish follows.


16 oz cleaned fresh spinach (optional: stems removed)
2/3 cup cooked garbanzo beans (canned is ok, but I prefer making from dried)
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 bulb garlic (or more to taste)
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp table salt
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 small yellow onion
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 loaf of sliced french baguette


Roast garlic bulb in oven on 400 degrees with a spray of olive oil until golden brown and soft. Remove garlic from skins and mash. Set aside.

Toast a single slice of the baguette. Grind into fine breadcrumbs using mortar and pestle or food processor (you may also use prepared bread crumbs, but I prefer the texture of this, it is closer to the original).

Finely chop onion, brown it in a pan with about half of the olive oil. When browned, add spinach.

When spinach begins to wilt but retains its vibrant green color, smash up the roasted garlic, add to the spinach. Add bread crumbs, garbanzos (drained and rinsed), vinegar and spices. Taste and adjust spices to your liking.

Put the espinacas con garbanzo into an oven-safe dish. I like a small stoneware dish. Heat in the oven on 350 for approximately 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.

Finish off with a splash of lemon juice. Garnish with thin lemon slices and kosher sea salt. Serve warm with bread.

1 comment:

Rob Taylor said...

love the "drop-down recipe" feature!

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