The Food Lab
This is just about the fastest vegetable side dish you can throw
together. It’s got four ingredients (six if you want to be a stickler and
count the salt and pepper), and it quite literally cooks in five minutes.
Because spinach is so moist, there’s no need to add any liquid
to the pan—it releases plenty on its own as it wilts. I’d love to be able
to tell you that I’ve got some sort of magic food-sciencey trick that’ll
make your sautéed spinach much better than anyone else’s, but this
is a case where the traditional method is so quick, easy, and perfect
that I can’t find a single fault in its process or its end result.
NOTE: This recipe will work equally well with trimmed Swiss chard or
young kale leaves (just cut out the thicker portions of the stems). Do
not use baby spinach—it will become too wet while cooking.
Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Immediately add half of the spinach and cook, stirring and tossing, until lightly wilted. Add the remaining spinach and cook, using tongs to turn the spinach every 30 seconds or so, until it is completely wilted and the excess liquid has mostly evaporated, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice and serve.