Friday, February 5, 2010

Parmesan Creamed Spinach

Serves 4

For the ease of throwing a dinner party, I like to make this dish in a few steps, over the course of 24 hours. I wilt the spinach the day before and keep it covered overnight in the refrigerator. I prep all the other ingredients and go through the rest of the steps right before the guests come. Then I just keep the creamed spinach in its pan, out of the way at the back of the stove, and reheat it over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, at the last minute. It couldn’t be easier this way, and you’d never know you made it ahead. It tastes perfectly fresh. And really fabulous.


1 # baby spinach, stems removed
2 Tbl butter
3 Tbl finely chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 Tbl flour
3/4 cup whole milk, warm
1/4 cup cream, warm
1/4 cup grated parmesan
pinch nutmeg
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add the spinach and about 2 Tbl water to a large pot. Place over medium heat, and stir constantly as the spinach thoroughly wilts. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the spinach with your hands to press out as much water as possible. At this point, the spinach can be covered and refrigerated until needed (overnight, even).

In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sweat the shallots until they just turn translucent and then add the garlic and cook about one minute more, until fragrant but not browned. Add the flour and cook, stirring, about two minutes, until nutty smelling. Slowly add the warmed milk, whisking as you pour, about a 1/4 cup at a time, whisking until it is thoroughly incorporated into the flour mixture. Then add the warmed cream and whisk to thoroughly combine. Add the parmesan and a pinch of nutmeg, and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about two minutes. Add the wilted spinach and mix to thoroughly coat the spinach with the sauce. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Either keep on heat about two more minutes, stirring frequently, until heated through, and serve immediately. Or set aside for a little while, and reheat when ready to serve. Also, this is perfectly good, stored in an air-tight container in the fridge, and re-heated for leftovers.




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