Tuesday, February 15, 2011
slightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse
(with thanks to my friend Halli for sending it to me originally)
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat large wide skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until gently wilted (soft but very green). Remove the spinach from the pan to a colander to let drain and cool. Wring dry, removing as much moisture as possible, then finely chop and set aside.
Melt the butter in medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
Oh, spinach. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
No, wait, let's not. We'll be here for an hour.
I could eat spinach every day. Every. Day. Easily one of my top ten pure foods. And while I will happily munch on it raw or simply sauteed with garlic and salt, I also love it creamed. There is nothing quite like steakhouse creamed spinach when it's made well.
It took me a while to perfect this, to get a version that doesn't leak all over the plate, that retains the bright green of the spinach, that doesn't overwhelm with cream and salt. It's perfection.
One note about cooking spinach: Emeril, like many chefs, instructs to wilt the spinach in a pot of boiling water. However, I learned from Anne Burrell that spinach, especially after you wash it, retains enough water on its own to steam/wilt itself in a pan. She's right. I put in no oil, no extra water. I simply keep an eye on it and stir it a bit to make sure no leaves have dried out and stuck to the side of the pan. I do this whenever I cook spinach for this creamed side dish, for pizza topping, for pasta stuffing, etc. It works perfectly every time and I have no extra grease or moisture in my spinach to muck up the consistency. I highly recommend it.