My favorite vegetable is spinach. I like it cooked and I like it raw. In fact, it’s one of the few vegetables I enjoy raw. I really love spinach that’s been sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Whenever I’m travelling in Italy and it’s in season, I try to order sauteed spinach as often as possible. I’d have a portion with every meal if I could. I’m also a big, big fan of a good spinach salad, dressed with a warm vinaigrette with bacon and chopped egg.
My favorite style of spinach–much to my health-conscious wife’s horror–is creamed spinach. I love this dish. I love the rich heartiness of it and I love the taste. It’s the perfect accompaniment to almost any meat or seafood dish. And it’s great on its own, spooned directly from the saucepan into my mouth.
I recently tried out a new technique to making this classic sidedish. Instead of sauteeing the spinach and then adding the cream sauce, I steamed the spinach first. I also used baby spinach which meant I did not need to do any chopping. In a large saucepan, I made my bechamel sauce (melt butter, stir in flour, add cream, cook and stir) which I flavored with a bit of salt, pepper and ground nutmeg. When the sauce was just the right thickness and tasted perfect, I stirred the steamed baby spinach into the hot bechamel. I let this heat up for just under a minute, stirring, then turned off the heat and served it. It was fantastic. Unlike with some creamed spinach recipes, in which the spinach is overcooked to death, this spinach still had a lovely fresh taste. I ate it, poured rather gluttonnessly over a nice piece of grilled ribeye.