Baked Spinach

I would like to start off by saying that I love spinach.  I love it raw in salads.  I love it wilted in chicken broth, heavy on the freshly-cracked pepper.  I love it slightly cooked and drizzled with olive oil, especially when a clove of two of fresh garlic has been pressed into it.  So I believe that it goes without saying that when I saw this recipe posted for a baked spinach dish (a casserole, really), I simply couldn’t help but try it.

The ingredients in my version of the recipe below aren’t too horrible.  A tiny bit of butter, and a decent amount of cheese, and the result is a rich and densely flavorful gratin that will pair well with the likes of a steak, or some lamb chops, or a white fish, or a loosely poached egg.

Ingredients:

3 pounds fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons panko

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Wash your spinach but do not spin or pat it dry
  • Place spinach in a large pot over high heat and cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, until wilted
  • Shock the spinach in cold water to stop the cooking and drain again
  • Squeeze a small amount of the spinach at a time in your hands to extract as much water as possible. Chop the spinach coarsely. You should have about 3 cups of chopped spinach
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over moderately high heat and stir in the spinach. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the moisture from the spinach has boiled off
  • Lower the heat and sprinkle with flour, then stir for 2 minutes to cook the flour
  • Add 2/3 of your broth, simmer for another minute or two, and watch out that the spinach isn’t sticking to the pan
  • If needed, add all or part of the remaining broth. Season with salt and pepper
  • Lightly spray/butter/oil a shallow 1-quart baking dish
  • Stir 1/2 cup cheese into the spinach and pour the mixture into the baking dish
  • Mix the remaining cheese with panko and sprinkle it on the spinach
  • Spray the panko topping with olive oil pan spray
  • Bake until heated through and slightly brown on the top, about 30 minutes

grilled fillet mignon, baked spinach, and egg noodles with a mushroom pan sauce

Inspired by this post on smittenkitchen.com

J

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