One of my favorite Spanish dishes is espinicas con garbanzos, a simple tapa or side that combines two humble ingredients, fresh spinach and garbanzo beans. While it may not seem like an extraordinary meal, I assure you that it's filling, flavorful, and fabulous. The key is in the seasonings: a hand-ground mixture of coriander seed, cumin, paprika, and fried garlic and bread. It's hearty and scrumptious on its own, but it also makes a superb side for roasted fish or chicken. Still want to keep things vegetarian? Top the savory mixture with a fried egg. To learn the easy and delicious method, keep reading.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, 3 peeled, 2 peeled and minced
2 slices of rustic French bread
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon paprika (sweet Spanish paprika, if you have it)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup minced shallots
1 large bunch of spinach, washed and stems removed
1 (15-ounce) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When it's hot, add the 3 peeled garlic cloves and the two slices of bread. Fry, turning once, until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the oil and set aside. Reserve the oil.
- In a mortar and pestle, combine the coriander seeds, cumin, ginger, peppercorns, and paprika. Mash to combine the spices and crush the seeds and peppercorns. Add the fried garlic and grind to form a thick paste. Tear the fried bread into pieces and add a little bit at a time, mashing into the spices. (You want different-sized chunks of bread throughout the dish.) Repeat until all the bread is mashed. Add the white wine vinegar and mash.
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat half of the reserved frying oil. When it's hot, add the minced shallot. Cook stirring until the shallot is soft and fragrant, 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic and the spinach by the handful. When all of the spinach is just wilted, add the spice mixture from the mortar and pestle. Stir to combine and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garbanzo beans and cook 3 minutes. Add the broth to moisten the dish and stir to combine all the flavors. Cook for another couple of minutes to thicken the sauce. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to a plate or serving dish and enjoy.
Serves 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side dish.
- Main Dishes, Beans