Daily Recipe: The Best Baked Spinach
There are certain people in the food world that everyone has heard of. The chefs, bloggers and critics that make a name for themselves by adding something unique to the culinary community. Take Julia Child, she’s probably one of the most well-known chefs in the last 40 years, and although she’s passed away, her cookbooks and techniques are admired and used by foodies around the world.
Julia Child was known for her French cuisine. With a goal of adapting French food for mainstream Americans, she collaborated on a two-volume cookbook called Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This cookbook was considered groundbreaking, and has now become a standard guide in the culinary world. She’s also the queen of cooking shows, hosting The French Chef, a show devoted to her love of French cuisine. She made French cooking accessible to everyone, and when you think of TV chefs, it’s hard not to picture Julia Child bustling around the kitchen, concocting elaborate, drool-worthy dishes.
We got beautiful bunches of spinach this morning, and in a search for a recipe we couldn’t help but turn to Julia. This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen’s blog, who seems to be quite taken with Julia as well. This is an easy spinach gratin that only has a few, simple ingredients. And unlike your typical gratin, it’s not drenched in butter and cheese so you won’t feel too heavy after eating it.
Take this Friday to pay homage to Julia Child by whipping up one of her tasty dishes. She’s truly one of a kind.
The Best Baked Spinach (Spinach Gratin)
From: Smitten Kitchen
- 3 lbs fresh spinach
- 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup stock or cream (we recommend using stock to reduce the fat content of the dish)
- 3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
- 2 tbsp fine, dry breadcrumbs
Stem and wash your spinach. Place spinach in a large pot over high heat. Cook, covered, until wilted. About 2 to 4 minutes for baby spinach and 4 to 6 minutes for regular spinach. Transfer to a colander, immediately fill the pot with cold water, transfer it back to the pot of cold water to shock it (stop it from over cooking) and drain again. Squeeze a small amount of 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.
Wipe out the pot and melt 2 tbsp butter over medium-high heat and stir in the spinach. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until all of the moisture from the spinach has boiled off. You’ll know you’re done when the spinach begins to stick to the pan.
Lower the heat and sprinkle with flour and stir for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Add 2/3 of your stock or cream, a tiny bit at a time, scraping up any stuck spinach as you do. Once the liquid is added, simmer for another minute or two, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If you’re feeling like it, you can stir in an extra tbsp of butter. Season with salt (about 1/2 tsp) and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a shallow 1-quart baking dish. Stir 1/2 cup cheese into the spinach and pour it into the baking dish. Mix the remaining cheese with breadcrumbs and sprinkle on spinach. Melt 1 1/2 tbsp remaining butter and pour it over the top. Bake until heated through and slightly brown on top, about 30 minutes.
You can serve this delicious gratin with steaks, chicken, fish or a couple of sunny-side-up eggs.