n most cookbooks, recipes with florentine in the name include spinach as a main ingredient. Not so in Florence, where it means that peas are included! For example, Veal Florentine Style (Vitello alla Fiorentina) has no spinach, although many of us would expect that instead of peas. Blame Catherine de'Medici.
When she married into the 16th century French royal house at age 14, she brought along Tuscan cooks who introduced their cuisine to the royal court. The French incorporated and codified these recipes, giving them new names that have endured for centuries.Còllabecame béchamel, crespelle became crêpes,gelato became glace, pàpero al melaranciobecame cànard a l'orange,and alla fiorentina...You get the idea.
Here's the recipe!
2 pounds fresh spinach
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
Wash spinach several times to remove all sand and dirt. Drain. Cook in the water left clinging to the leaves. (If you use frozen spinach, steam or use as little water as possible.) Drain, let cool, and squeeze out
excess water. Chop spinach finely. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and sliced garlic. When the garlic is golden add the spinach. Sauté together and season to taste with salt. Serve with lemon wedges.
* To spice this up, add a couple of red chili peppers broken up into the olive oil with garlic.
* Renaissance version: Saute with raisins soaked first for 10 minutes in warm water. Top with toasted pine nuts.
Once you've tasted this dish, you'll understand why it is so popular. The twice-cooked method also works well with cauliflower and broccoli. This method creates an excellent pasta sauce. Boil the vegetables with the pasta and then sauté them together. Buonissimo!