Sautéed Spinach with Garlic & Lemon

serves 4 to 6

This recipe is from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria. It’s also known as Spinaci Saltati. I’m am a picky eater when it comes to spinach. I think that comes from how my dad prepared it as a kid, basically just boiled it in water for hours and served with butter, salt and pepper; it was a soggy mess. I believe this is one of 3 spinach recipes that I cook at the moment. The spinach is still recognizable and a nice vibrant green color, and add some lemon and garlic and what’s not to love!


  • 3 TBL course sea salt
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and stemmed, and dried
  • 4 plumb fresh garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 TBL freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  • Add the salt, then add the spinach, stirring to evenly wilt the spinach
  • Cook until just wilted through, 2 to 3 minutes (note: if you use baby spinach this step moves faster)
  • Drain the spinach, and rinse thoroughly with cold water to stop the cooking and set the bright green color.
  • Drain again
  • With a stainless steel knife, coarsely chop the spinach (note: I skip this part if using baby spinach)
  • Place in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and set aside to drain one more, pressing as much liquid as possible from the spinach
  • In a large skillet, combine the garlic and oil, and cook over moderate heat just until the garlic turns golden, but does not brown, 2 to 3 minutes
  • Remove and discard the garlic
  • Add the chopped spinach and cook, tossing gently with the tines of a fork, until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes
  • Season with sale and pepper and the lemon juice, and serve immediately
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