when i was a kid i used to get so excited whenever i found out my mom was making creamed spinach. she was thrilled because i was eating spinach, i was thrilled because there was butter, cream, and cheese mixed in. though this isn’t the healthiest side dish, i have provided alternatives for a lighter version. the full fat version is nice when entertaining guests though, they will be impressed…promise.
- 2 pounds baby spinach, washed and spun dry
- 2 large shallots
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided (i know)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 pint cream (i used table cream, but you could use whole milk or 2% here, though it will take longer to thicken)
- about 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
heat 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. gently saute the spinach, working in batches if necessary. once all of the spinach is wilted (don’t overcook it) remove from the pan and place into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to drain. (if you don’t have a fine mesh strainer simply line your regular strainer with paper towels.) reserve the liquid that drains off.
slice your shallots as thin as you are able (you can use a mandoline if you’d like, though i find i have better luck with a knife) and add them to 2 tablespoons of butter that has been heated in a large sauce pan over medium heat. add a pinch of salt and cook until they are glassy. add the remaining butter and 3 tablespoons of flour (to start) to the pan and combine with a wooden spoon. you are creating a roux and you want it to be a pasty consistency. add more flour if necessary. cook for about 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste and create a nutty flavor.
using a whisk stir in the cream (or milk) about 1/2 cup at a time and whisk until there are no lumps of the roux. keep this mixture on a medium high heat, whisking frequently (making sure to get the corners), until it is a nice thick sauce. (you want this to be slightly thicker than you’d think because the spinach has so much natural liquid.)
add the spinach and stir to combine, and then begin adding the cheese a little at a time. let each batch melt before adding more. grate in a bit of fresh nutmeg to taste. if, once the cheese is all combined, the mixture is too thick, you can use some of the reserved liquid to thin it. otherwise, serve and enjoy!
notes: so, like i said, not too healthy. however, it is s delicious and memorable side dish for roasts, or even simple grilled chicken breasts. fritz liked this, though i didn’t give him much because of the fat content!