In a riff on a traditional steakhouse side, Chef Tom Colicchio of Craftsteak restaurants transforms classic creamed spinach into an over-the-top gratin.
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 2 lb. baby spinach
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 clove
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 fresh thyme sprig, plus leaves from 1 thyme sprig
- 1/2 cup grated Emmentaler cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Butter a 9 1/2-by-7-inch oval gratin dish.
In a fry pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Let cool to room temperature.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 tsp. of the oil. Add half the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing out any excess water with the back of a spoon. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining 1 tsp. oil and the spinach.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream and half-and-half; do not allow the mixture to boil.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent but not brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until nutty and just golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the clove, nutmeg, bay leaf and thyme sprig and simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then strain into a bowl. Return the mixture to the saucepan, set over medium heat and stir in the Emmentaler until melted.
Fold the sauce into the spinach and season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to the prepared gratin dish and top with the toasted bread crumbs. Bake until the gratin is golden brown on top, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Serves 4.
Recipe courtesy of Craftsteak.