Monday, November 16, 2015

Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach sounds a food that was popular in the 50's. It conjures up visions of slimy greens swimming in gray canned cream soup. I've had spinach plenty in my life; at least I have done so in my later adult years when my desire to try more health-promoting foods outvoted my wish to consume highly palatable foods from my younger days. I never even considered having it "creamed" until The New York Times Creamed Spinach recipe made an appearance on my Facebook feed.

While "creamed" made me think there would be actual, well, cream, in the dish, it is actually a white sauce (B├ęchamel sauce). For those who don't know what that is, it's essentially flour cooked in butter with milk added to it. It forms a creamy base for the pureed spinach in this dish. It's incredibly simply and comes together rapidly. Mine looked fairly similar to what was picture on the Times page, but it's less vibrantly green. I attribute this to both my using the stems (which are lighter in color) and the fact that I didn't adjust the colors in Photoshop to make mine look more verdant.



I followed the recipe fairly faithfully, though I had less spinach on hand than the recipe called for so I cut it in half. The white sauce came together beautifully, but I was careful not to get the butter too hot and that helps. I also used a pretty light hand with the nutmeg and didn't add any salt until the end.

After tasting the final result, I was quite happy, but I wanted more depth and complexity. I especially wanted more savory ("umami") notes so I added a tablespoon (keep in mind that I cut the recipe in half) of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I think this punched up the flavor a bit and would probably include this variation again. 

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