Recipe: Spinach Gratin
Summary: Obviously, it was delicious. Because how can vegetables covered in cream and cheese, then topped with bread and more cheese, not be delicious?
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 pounds baby spinach
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup half-and-half or fat free half-and-half
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1 clove
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 fresh thyme sprig, plus leaves from 1 thyme sprig
- 1/2 cup grated Emmentaler (or Swiss) cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- Preheat an oven to 400°F. Butter a 9 1/2-by-7-inch oval gratin dish.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the bread crumbs and stir until lightly toasted, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Let cool to room temperature.
- In a Dutch oven, or another large pot, over medium-high heat, warm 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add half the spinach (or as much as you can fit in the pot — I had to break it into quarters) and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing out any excess water with the back of a spoon. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and the spinach.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream and half-and-half, but don’t let it boil.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent but not brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until nutty and just golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the clove, nutmeg, bay leaf and thyme sprig and simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then strain into a bowl. Return the mixture to the saucepan, set over medium heat and stir in the Emmentaler or Swiss cheese until melted.
- Fold the sauce into the spinach and season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to the prepared gratin dish and top with the toasted bread crumbs. Bake until the gratin is golden brown on top, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Recipe and Photo courtesy of: sloblogs.thetribunenews.com