Yesterday I stumbled across a secret stash of kaffir lime leaves. I immediately thought of spinach. I am not truly sure why, perhaps because years ago while working at Clio Restaurant, Ken Oringer introduced us to a skate dish served with Indian spiced spinach which was garnished with lime pickle and sliced kaffir lime leaves. That is my guess.
I melted some butter in a pan and put in too many lime leaves. Well, not really, but to someone looking from afar they would certainly think I had over indulged in the lime leaf department. When the butter was browned and the room smelled of the perfume of this aromatic leaf, I removed the leaves and added young spinach. I cooked the spinach until it was just tender and then laid it out to cool quickly. The spinach took on the amazing floral notes of the lime leaves, a haunting hidden flavor, one which makes you think and then go aha! When the spinach was cool, we folded in some tender cocoa nibs to finish the spinach preparation.
Last evening we served the spinach with flatiron steak and our membrillo-tomolive sauce. Today we present it with seared short ribs. In both cases the spinach was a dramatic foil for the rich meat.