Mediterranean Potato & Spinach Bake

Looking through these recipes it becomes apparent where we go on holiday. Here is another recipe inspired by memories of hot sun, blue sky, stunningly white buildings and, more obviously, the scent of basil and oregano.

Ingredients

2lb 900g) new potatoes
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
8oz (225g) carrots
3 sticks celery
5oz (150g) fresh spinach
1 tin (14oz/400g) tomatoes
6 oz (175g) grated cheese
1 dessertspoon basil
1 dessertspoon oregano
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red grape juice
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C, 350°F.
  2. Scrub the potatoes, put them into a large pan of boiling water and cook until they are just done; take care not to over cook them. Drain and keep to one side.
  3. Peel the onions and garlic and chop coarsely. Put a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat, add a table spoon of olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until golden.
  4. Wash the carrot, peel if not organic and grate. Wash the celery and chop. Add to the onion and garlic mixture with the herbs and leave to cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, puree, wine vinegar and grape juice. Bring back to the boil and allow to cook until the celery is soft.
  6. Whilst the sauce is cooking, pull the stalks off the spinach and wash thoroughly. Drain and shred.
  7. Once the sauce is cooked remove from the heat, season to taste and blend into a smooth mixture.
  8. Mix the potato and the spinach in an oven dish. Pour the sauce on top, add the grated cheese and cook in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.
  9. At the risk of being boring we will tell you that you can miss out or substitute the cheese to make this a vegan dish. You can use frozen spinach out of season but it really tastes better with fresh. Spinach and potato are one of those great pairings, the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall of the vegetable world. If you are really indolent you can just mix the cooked potato, spinach, onion and garlic and dress with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice in the Greek style. Eaten hot or cold, on its own or as a side dish it is delicious. Talk about value, we could have put that in as a separate recipe and charged another pound!

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