One and a half cups of raw spinach has just 20 calories but provides a good source of iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K. It's considered a Superfood for the heart as well as the eyes, and it may help prevent certain forms of cancer. Frying spinach is a good way to prepare it because none of the nutrients are lost in the cooking water.
Spinach has a tendency to pick up a lot of sand from its growing bed, so washing it carefully it crucial. An effective way to wash spinach is to fill a clean sink or basin with cool water, then submerge the spinach and swish it around, letting the grit fall to the bottom. Drain and repeat a couple of times, as necessary. Give the leaves a final cool-water rinse in a colander and spin dry or pat dry with a kitchen towel. It's okay if some water remains on the leaves -- this will help steam the spinach as it cooks.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When oil begins to shimmer and pan feels hot when you hold your hand two inches from it, add the minced garlic. Saute garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Do not let garlic brown.
Place spinach leaves in pan and stir to coat with oil. Saute spinach, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure it doesn't burn, until the leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If spinach begins to stick to the pan, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil.
Remove pan from heat and splash with red wine vinegar before serving, if desired. Makes about 4 servings.
You can also saute frozen cut-leaf spinach this way. (Use the frozen leaf spinach that comes in a poly bag, not a frozen block.) After heating the oil in the pan and sauteing the garlic, pour in the frozen spinach (no need to thaw). Stir to distribute oil and garlic, place a lid on the skillet, and allow to cook over medium heat. Check and stir the spinach periodically; it will take about 15 to 20 minutes to defrost and saute the frozen spinach.