Borani-e Esfenaj or Iranian Spinach & Yogurt Salad

Spinach has been called ‘the queen of dark green leafy vegetables’.  a nutritional bounty lies in this least bitter and most tender of the greens: too many vitamins and minerals to list, as well as carotenoids, lutein and rubiscloin.  because of the oxcalic acid which can prevent the absorption of calcium, its better to cook your spinach: a short burst of heat until the leaves are wilted and you’re good to go.  for more than a thousand years, spinach has been held in high regard for its flavor and nutrition.  originally hailing from persia, spinach made its way to china, india, and eventually the mediterranean via arab traders.  It found its way to western europe in the 15th century where it quickly became an important part of their diet and culinary tradition.

3/4 lb spinach

3/4 cup greek-style yogurt or strained whole-milk yogurt

1 medium onion -chopped

2 cloves garlic -minced

2 Tbl olive oil

2 Tbl fresh lemon juice

1 Tbl butter or olive oil for sauteing

sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Wash the spinach well, remove any large coarse stems.  strain the leaves and place in a large saute pan.  cover and turn heat to medium-low.  cook leaves till just wilted, about 3 minutes.  allow cooked spinach to drain in a colander while moving on to the next step.

Add the chopped onion and 1 Tbl butter or oil to the now empty saute pan and heat to medium.  brown the onions over several minutes, add the garlic, stir well and remove from heat.  place in a serving dish.  to the onions & garlic, stir in the 2 Tbl olive oil, lemon juice.  season with salt and pepper.

Once cool, use your hands to squeeze the water out of the spinach.  put on a chopping block and chop coarsely.  place spinach and yogurt in the serving dish and gently mix it all together.  salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately or at room temp.  enjoy!


tip of the day:  serve Borani-e Esfenaj with poached eggs