Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Feast with Seduction Spinach Gratin

Holy Week is making me long for family and spring blooms. This is a mashup of past pics of my godmother's home, an avid SHF reader, and Eric's sweet family Easter meal from a few years ago. 

Dogwoods have the most beautiful Easter story.

Redbuds always make me think of my sweet Momma. We would drive and she yells in a hello sort of whistle, "Redbud, redbud."

Jeano is the best cook. She roasted lamb a few years ago for our Easter feast, but my favorite memory was of her crab meat stuffed Rockfish. No lasting photos of that sucker sadly.

I look forward to this coming Stone Hill spring. 

We've got a few more weeks for these bright green leaves.

One of my favorite treats is creamed spinach. McCall nicknamed my mother's creamed spinach recipe "Seduction Spinach". It's bizarre I haven't posted the recipe here. I guess because it is so easy that I have it memorized. 

Seduction Spinach, KTPunks Mommy

(1) huge box of fresh baby spinach or (4) frozen boxes of chopped spinach
You can also mix a few boxes of the frozen with a few large handfuls of fresh. The stuff wilts like crazy.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
Light dusting of flour to make a roux
2 tablespoons chopped horseradish
salt and nutmeg to taste
lemon squeeze

If you are using frozen spinach, cook in a sauce pan with just the frozen blocks of spinach. Let them melt the ice and cook down the water as much as possible. Pour off water if there is too much. If you defrost the spinach box beforehand squeeze as much water out of the box by cutting a little hole in the corner. The less water the better. 
Once spinach is wilted and cooked down, remove any big stems. Add butter. Melt and mix spinach and butter. I sometimes add shallots if I have them but not necessary. Push spinach to side and add flour. Cook flour and butter mixture and add cream to make a roux. Once the roux thickens mix the spinach back in. Add horseradish and seasoning. I love nutmeg in this but you can leave it out. It should be spicy so if two tablespoons isn't enough, put in another heap and you are golden.

Ina's Spinach Gratin

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
About 3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 10-ounce packages)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened.

Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Transfer the spinach to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Gruyère on top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately. 

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Follow Ina's recipes to the fraction of the ounce. She tests and retests her recipes so that they are foolproof. I truly don't know of any other cookbooks that are so well tested. I added WAY too much cheese in this recipe and it turned greasy (see last photo). I'm a glutton for Gruyere and it was a hot mess of oil. Bad Nellie. In Ina We Trust. 

In this recipe she suggests making the roux first. You know your roux is ready when you can drag a spoon through it.

Then she adds the squeezed out spinach.

I added horseradish to make it "a la seduction" spinach.

Just use the 1/2 cup of Gruyere.

This was the problem. I added at least a full cup on the top.

It was still delicious but the half cup would have been less oily and more crispy. Yum. Crispy Seduction Spinach Gratin.

Family meals at the Somerville's are always wonderful. Kim makes her famous potato salad and Aunt Barbara usually makes her 4 cheese mac and cheese. 

Good memories from a few years ago.

Sending good Easter Feast vibes your way as you plan your menus this week.

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