Haha. I’m not sure this lil guy wanted to be eaten as much as I wanted to eat him.
Luke was gone to Austin for the basketball State Tournament last week, which meant that for dinner, I got to eat whatever I want.
So I indulged, which for most people would probably mean brownies, pie, cookies or candy for dinner. However, for me, it meant spending half an hour on a vegetable dish that would normally be considered a side, which included no meat, and eating it as a meal. Oh, and playing with my food to make it look like a face that was afraid to be eaten.
And let me just say, I want to eat this spinach dish every day for the rest of my life. When I’m on death row and it comes time for my last meal, I will ask for this. And then, most certainly, it will be my first meal in heaven.
And if I ever get to fill a bathtub or pool with a substance other than water, it will be this spinach dish.
Overkill? I’m done now.
Dee-Lush Spinach Gratin
(Adapted, barely, from Smitten Kitchen, who has, in fact, become my favorite food blogger. She adapted from Julia Child, who is always right about food.)
Serves one: you.
1 pound fresh spinach
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, plus a tiny bit more for greasing your baking dish
salt n pepa to taste
1/2 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup beef stock
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or gruyere, the best cheese ever, if you’re rich enough to have some just lying around. I’m not.)
1 tablespoon panko bread crumbs
Wash the spinach, and do not dry it. Place it in a large pot over high heat, with just the water droplets that are still clinging to it from washing. Cover, and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer spinach to a colander, and immediately fill the pot with cold water. Plunge spinach into the cold water to stop the cooking, and drain it again. Squeeze the spinach, small handfuls at a time, to extract as much water as possible. Coarsely chop the spinach. You should have about 1 cup of chopped, cooked spinach.
Wipe out the pot and melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat and add spinach. Cook until all the moisture has cooked out of the spinach, about 5 minutes. When you press a spoon or spatula to the spinach, you should see no liquid.
Decrease heat to medium-low, and sprinkle the flour over spinach. Stir for 2 minutes, cooking the flour. Add the stock, a little bit at a time, stirring between each addition. Simmer about 2 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that the addition of cheese will make it a little saltier than it is at this point.
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter a small, shallow baking dish. Stir half the cheese into the spinach mixture, and pour the mixture into the baking dish. Mix the remaining cheese and the panko, and sprinkle on top of the spinach. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter, and drizzle over the top of the spinach. Bake until the top is golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
Allow it to cool about 5 minutes, and enjoy!