When I cook fresh spinach I am always amazed at how little I have left. Because spinach is 92% water, it makes sense. For this recipe it is important that all the water be squeezed out of the spinach after cooking. Nobody wants watery creamed spinach! According to the experts, a full pound of spinach is equal to about one cup cooked spinach. I ended up with closer to two cups. Buy or pick accordingly. You could use frozen spinach as well, although I prefer fresh whenever possible.
I have posted creamed spinach recipes before, once using Gouda cheese and another time with Parmesan. Today I used Gruyère cheese and this is my favorite version of the three. I like the nutty flavor of the Gruyère and how it melts nicely without being grainy. I also changed some of the amounts of some ingredients so this recipe has really been adapted and improved!
- 1 pound of spinach, washed and stems trimmed
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 3 TBS butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 TBS flour
- ¼ cup half and half
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- ¾ cup grated Gruyere cheese
- Add the spinach to a large stockpot on medium heat. Stirring frequently, cook the spinach until wilted but still vibrant green with a little crunch left. Drain well and allow to cool. Squeeze all the excess moisture out of the spinach. Place the spinach in the bottom of a small casserole dish. For the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat adding the shallots and garlic, cooking but not browning them. Add the salt, pepper and flour, whisking continuously. You are making a roux to thicken the cream sauce. Cook the roux for two to three minutes to remove the flour taste then slowly add the half and half and heavy cream, stirring constantly. When the sauce is thick and creamy add the grated cheese and nutmeg. If the sauce is too thick add a little more cream or milk to thin it. Pour the sauce over the spinach. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Broil for an additional two minutes or so to brown the cheese topping. Watch it carefully to prevent burning. Allow dish to cool slightly before serving.
I think the shallots add that little extra flavor that this recipe needed to take it over the top.
I added the half and half this time to make the spinach creamier. It really makes a big difference.
You can enjoy this as a side dish for 3-4 people. You can also serve this as an easy vegetarian meal for two as we did tonight, on Parmesan frico toast points. Yum!