There are any number of ways to prepare creamed spinach, but more often than not I think that most preparations cook the spinach to death and many recipes use a bechamel sauce, two things I wanted to avoid. One method of keeping the finished dish from being too watery is to sauté the spinach until the excess water has evaporated, which in my opinion overcooks the spinach. I suppose that using a flour thickened bechamel sauce also avoids a watery finished product, but I'm avoiding grains and white flour in particular so that isn't an option right now. My solution to the problem was to wilt the spinach and squeeze out most of the water (which is typically the first step anyway), but then I simmer the cream mixture to thicken it before I add the chopped spinach. It doesn't take any extra time if you are starting with fresh spinach, the cream can reduce while you are prepping the spinach. The addition of eggs to the dish made this a substantial main dish which merely required a simple refreshing salad to make the meal complete (in this case it was mâche with avocado and grapefruit).
Amounts are approximate, I did no measuring while I prepared the dish.
Creamed Spinach with Eggs and Parmigiano
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup creme fraiche
Freshly grated nutmeg
Fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach with no stems (weigh after removing stems)
4 eggs (extra large is nice)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Bring a 9-inch (23 cm) cazuela up to medium low heat. Melt the butter in the pan and add the onion and garlic, sauté until the onion is translucent. Pour the cream into the pan and stir in the creme fraiche, turn the heat to low and let the contents of the pan simmer slowly while you prep the spinach. Use a medium sauté pan if you don't have a cazuela and have a 9-inch gratin dish or baking dish ready.
Wilt the spinach in an extra-large sauté pan in batches and set the spinach on a rimmed sheet pan to cool until it can be handled. Squeeze the spinach by handfuls to rid it of the extra moisture (you can save the liquid to use in soup), no need to squeeze it to death. Chop the spinach.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and season it with nutmeg, pepper, and salt to taste. Stir in the chopped spinach. (Transfer the mixture to a gratin or baking dish if using one.) Make a well in the spinach mixture and crack an egg into it, repeat with the remaining eggs. Scatter the Parmigiano over the top and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Bake until the contents of the dish are bubbling and the eggs are set, about 15 minutes if using the cazuela or longer if using a baking dish (preheat the baking dish if you want to speed things up).
Makes 2 to 4 servings.
About This Blog
This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.
Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...
Thank you and enjoy!