Pine nuts are fun. You may see them called pinons or pignoli, and they are really seeds from pine trees, not true nuts. Toss a few onto a green salad or a pasta dish and you’ll get crunch, and rich nutty taste with pretty much no effort. And if you toast those little beauties, you’re really in for a treat. Much like nuts, toasting the pine nuts dramatically heightens the flavor.
Toasting pine nuts takes just a minute, and it really makes a difference. All you do is place the pine nuts in a dry skillet and heat them, moving them around a bit, until they get a light golden brown color. That’s it! Easy enough for you?
In this dish I combined the toasted pine nuts with some wilted spinach. With a little garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, it’s fabulous and ready in a snap. Even the greens-haters in your family might come around when this is served. And if not, more spinach for you, Popeye.
Spinach with Toasted Pine Nuts
(See photo in yesterday’s post)1/2 ounce (2 tablespoons) pine nuts 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 5 oz baby spinach, preferably organic (since spinach tends to be a higher pesticide item) 2 cloves garlic, crushed pinch of salt, dash of pepper
1. Place the pine nuts in a dry skillet (I used my cast iron skillet) and heat over medium heat, shaking them around every so often, until they are golden brown in spots. Don’t burn them though, or they will taste bad.
2. Transfer pine nuts to a small dish and set aside. Add oil to skillet and return to heat. When oil is hot, add garlic and spinach. Cook, stirring, until leaves are wilted. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
3. Divide spinach between two plates and top with toasted pine nuts. (I crushed the pine nuts a bit with the back of a spoon to break them up, but totally optional)
Per serving: 88 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 4 g total carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 3 g protein