This post is taking the place of one that I was excited to share with you but likely will not be happening. Last week, while out to dinner with my husband, I came across some fresh sardines at a market in Mountain View. I was curious about their inventory, having never shopped there before, and I was surprised to finally find something that’s been very elusive at my local markets. Well, pure excitement about grilling and eating the sardines the following day quickly turned into disappointment when I saw the shots I took. I’m still thinking that they’re not fit to be shared so I give you this bowl of rice instead.
This dish is so basic that I never considered it worthy of posting. Perhaps it was fortuitous that I snapped a couple of shots of this still-steaming plate of rice immediately before serving it to my husband (I’m off rice for a while). I realized later that this dish just may be more qualified to represent what we eat at home compared to some of the others I share here, especially since we are happy to eat it two, or even three, times a week (it’s happened).
I started making this variation of fried rice last year. Fried rice is a typical end-of-the-week meal for us since it’s such a good way to clean out the fridge of the week’s leftover vegetables, usually broccoli, celery and carrots. Using spinach didn’t come to mind until I started purchasing the bagged frozen variety instead of the ones that come in blocks (which must first be defrosted in the microwave). The former are much easier to use since the spinach leaves are frozen individually–portions are easier to manage and no defrosting is necessary. I place the frozen spinach in a very hot cast iron skillet and wait for the water to evaporate. Then I add a bit of olive oil and fry the spinach. I add garlic then the rice and season with soy sauce. Done.
The first time I made this, I thought it wouldn’t work but I was happy to be wrong. The spinach dries out while frying, allowing some of the edges to brown and crisp up a bit instead of what I expected: a soggy, unpalatable plate of rice. Drizzled with some lemon juice or vinegar, sprinkled with ground pepper and some hot sauce, we’re happy to have a healthy, meatless meal.
It occurred to me while writing this post that this rice dish qualifies for the Quick and Easy series I considered starting at the beginning of year. I first mentioned it when I posted my Spinach and White Bean Soup. I wanted to compile a list of dishes using my pantry/refrigerator staples. This fits the bill perfectly. Because of this fried rice, bagged frozen spinach now has a high turnover rate in my freezer. As for the rice, well, I always have leftovers in the refrigerator. I’m certain that I have posted other dishes here that qualify for “Quick and Easy” and I will update my Categories list on the sidebar to include them. In the meantime, if you should find yourself short of ideas for a healthy, simple meal, this could be an option for you.
Spinach and Garlic Fried Rice
- Leftover cooked rice (brown or white)
- Bagged frozen chopped spinach (You will need more than you think. For 2 – 3 cups of cooked rice, I usually use about 1/3 of the bagged frozen spinach)
- Chopped fresh garlic
- Oil, 2 – 3 tablespoons
- Soy sauce
- Optional condiments: Lemon juice, vinegar, ground pepper, hot sauce