I could never figure out why spinach gets a bum deal. People cook the shit out of it, and then they wonder why it just doesn’t look appealing. It’s too bad, because done correctly, people will rave over it. Today I am going to show you how easy it can be.
The only rule to remember about cooking spinach -
- Don’t cook the shit out of it.
Spinach is a delicate leaf, quick to overcook. It’s packed with a suitcase of vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants that disappear when you over cook the spinach.
Not Your Mama’s Creamed Spinach
Data courtesy of Livestrong (find the recipe here)
Calories: 550 per serving
Carbohydrates: 12.72 g per serving
- 1 large bag (1 lb) baby organic spinach (You can use “adult” spinach; see below how things change.)
- ½ green pepper, seeded, chopped
- 1 shallot, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- To taste freshly grated nutmeg
- To taste salt
- To taste freshly ground pepper
Sweat diced peppers and chopped shallots with butter.
Stir the mixture and cook it down until it has softened a bit.
Make sure that this mixture is seasoned properly. It sucks when your vegetables aren’t properly seasoned.
Pour in some heavy cream. It will cover the bottom of the pan.
You are going to cook that down until it is slightly thickens. It shouldn’t take too long, about a minute or so.
Here’s the secret that separates our side dish here from the overcooked slop that some mothers like to pass off. Can you guess what that ingredient is?
That’s right, Nutmeg! It’s one of my favorites! Please don’t bother buying this pre-ground.
Let me get off track here for a second – Have you ever peeked in your Mother’s (or Mother-in-law’s) cupboard? Chances are you will find a mean row of neatly organized jars with the spices lined up. The problem is that they probably bought them back in the ’80s! I mean, why not just throw sawdust into your dish? I have a rule – if it smells like dust, I refuse to use it. I mean – it just isn’t good anymore! Jeez! Throw it out – fuck!
Okay, I’m back – but I’m adamant about this – trust me, this dish is better with freshly grated nutmeg.
See this spinach? Here is another part that a lot of people don’t get right – they don’t bother taking off the tough stems. I’m not a rabbit folks, so save it for Fluffy or something, but don’t put it on my plate, mmm-k?
What you want to do is rip those tough stems off. Some people like to get the veins out as well. You could if you like, but seeing as it is baby organic spinach, they won’t be tough and stringy. They will give you some fiber as well!
Here is what it looks like with all those stems off. Trust me; your family/guests’s teeth will thank you!
Roughly chop everything…
And toss it into your cream mixture.
Some people say that you should blanch the spinach first. Why the hell would you want to do that? If you do that, you take away all the vitamins, nutrients, flavor, and every other reason that you want to eat spinach anyway. Also, you run the risk of overcooking it and serving up a steaming plate of crap to your family.
Just don’t do it folks!
Instead, stir the spinach until it wilts. It will color the cream, and that’s fabulous. You want that. (Otherwise, why put the spinach in there?)
Once the spinach is done, all that is left is to serve it; you can either drop it into a family sized bowl, or pair it with another dish. (Like say, Filet Mignon.) Before you do that, you must do the most essential thing I will ever tell you to do in the kitchen:
If you are plating the spinach individually, put a bit of the creamed spinach in the center of the plate. You want the “sauce” to go around the plate, that’s normal.
There you have it. One simple rule, an awesome dish full of lush, velvety green, vitality, and best of all – flavor! Your spinach dish, not your Mama’s!
This dish can also be translated to other spinach like greens. For instance, while I am finishing this post, I am using the same technique to make creamed leeks and Swiss chard.