Spinach has many charms — truly singular flavor, the ability to be transformed by cooking in myriad ways, its famous health benefits — but raw in a salad is probably the least convincing. Try cooking wilted spinach these three healthy ways:
1. With Skirt Steak
Sear 8 ounces skirt steak in a large skillet over high heat, turning once. Remove, let pan cool a bit, then add 2 tablespoons butter and chopped spinach; stir until it wilts, 30 seconds or so. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 chopped tomatoes and 1/2 chopped red onion and cook another minute. Toss and top with the sliced steak; 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese makes a nice garnish.
2. With Bacon
Render 4 thick bacon slices in olive oil until nearly crisp, then remove. Toss spinach with a sprig of tarragon in the rendered fat to wilt; add 1/2 pound chopped mushrooms instead of tomatoes and onion; skip the cheese and top with bacon.
3. With Chicken
Substitute chicken breast for steak; cook in olive oil, browning well. Wipe pan clean. Melt 3 tablespoons butter and add spinach to wilt. Add tomatoes and a handful of chopped scallions; skip the rest. Top with sliced chicken and fresh lemon juice.