Spinach may not be everybody's favorite leafy green, but it is a vegetable that is high in essential vitamins and nutrients, and is an optimal menu choice for weight loss. The best tasting spinach recipes are the ones that use fresh spinach leaves, since the natural flavors of the spinach are preserved. If you have never cooked raw spinach before, be prepared to be surprised by how much the spinach leaves shrink and reduce once they are fully cooked.
Remove the spinach leaves from the bag or package and rinse under cold water. As with all types of leafy produce, spinach leaves can contain grits of sand or dirt, so you want your spinach leaves to be as clean as possible. Wash the spinach leaves in a colander so that you do not lose any down the drain in your sink.
Put your saute pan onto the stovetop burner and set the temperature to medium-high. Add the extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. You may have to twist the pan around with your hand in order to make sure that the bottom is coated evenly.
Add the chopped garlic to the pan and saute with your spatula. Keep moving the garlic around in the pan so that it doesn't burn. You do not want the garlic to brown or else it changes the flavor and texture of the garlic.
Place the spinach leaves into the pan. Mix it around so that the spinach is coated with the olive oil and fresh garlic. Add the salt, pepper and pinch of red cayenne pepper, and continue to toss around the leaves. You will notice that as the spinach leaves heat up, they start to wilt.
Keep your eye on the spinach as it cooks. Spinach goes from raw to wilted in a matter of minutes, so it is not wise to leave the spinach unattended.
Remove the spinach from the heat once all of the leaves are wilted. Plate the spinach so that it does not continue cooking in the hot pan.
It is easy to embellish your delicious spinach with other ingredients. For instance, meat lovers can add fresh bacon pieces to the pan to cook with the garlic and give the spinach a smokey flavor. Or you might want to drizzle freshly squeezed lemon juice on top of the cooked spinach.