FOODS WE LOVE: Spinach
I hold a general policy of "if you want to make something better, melt some cheese all over it." And when it comes to spinach, this definitely holds true. Spinach tends to be seen as one of the more serious, un-fun foods. Even the popular Popeye cartoons showed the character hating spinach but agreeing to eat it in order to boost his strength.
Well, Popeye was right to work through his pain: Spinach is rich in iron, which helps a person produce red blood cells that help get oxygen to various parts of the body. Iron also aids in the healthy formation of new cells. Further helping with cell health, spinach contains the B vitamin folate, which contributes to cell growth. It’s also a great source of vitamin K, which helps blood to clot normally and might help strengthen bones in elderly people.
When people dislike the taste of this wonderfully healthy vegetable, it tends to be because of the bitterness, which is where the "gratin" part comes in. Here’s a recipe from CookingChannelTV.com that should entice even a devout spinach-hater to try the nutritious green. And you can wipe up and spills with Seventh Generation 100% Recycled Paper Towels, made of 100% recycled paper.
- 3 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing
- 2 pounds baby spinach
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup/250 ml 35-percent cream
- 1 cup/250 ml milk
- 2 cups grated Emmental cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter an 8 cup (2 l) gratin dish.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon butter. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Press out any excess water. Transfer to a large bowl.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and then the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until nutty and just golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the cream and milk, and continue cooking until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the cheese until melted. Fold the sauce into the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared gratin dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the gratin is golden brown on top, about 10 minutes.
Photo: Woodley Wonder Works