Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Spinach Gratin

The other dish I made to go with our prime rib Christmas Eve dinner was a spinach gratin. This is a very interesting choice for me because while I love raw spinach, I don't care for cooked spinach, but this recipe (from Cook's Country) looked so good, I had to give it a try, plus I knew that Andy loves creamed spinach, and this was pretty close looking. This recipe takes a little time to put together, but very little time in the oven. What I liked about the process is that I was able to make the topping, wrap it and put in the fridge, make the filling, let it cool, wrap it up and put it in the fridge until I was ready to cook it. When it was time, I preheated the oven, pulled out the filling, topped it with the bread crumb topping, popped it in the oven and it was ready in 15 minutes. And boy was this delicious. Micah, my oldest, also detests cooked spinach. I wish I had a camera when he took a bite. His eyes popped open wide and he couldn't stop talking about how amazing this dish was. He gobbled it right down and had another helping at lunch today. This casserole is really packed full of flavor and reheats really well also. The recipe calls for gruyere cheese, but Andy accidentally bought smoked gruyere cheese. What a happy accident! The smokiness of the cheese adds a whole other layer of flavor. If you can find it, go for the smoked gruyere.

Cook's Notes: Also to note, if you're using salted butter in your bread crumb topping, you may not need to add any more salt. The cheese is salty, the butter is salty and the bread holds a bit of salt on its own. I used my Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread for the topping, but you could use whatever you have on hand.

Spinach Gratin (Cook's Country)

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (2 cups)
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups half-and-half
8 ounces curly-leaf spinach, stemmed and chopped coarse
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/2 pounds frozen whole-leaf spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, and chopped fine
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor to fine crumbs, about 10 pulses; transfer to bowl. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in microwave, about 30 seconds. Stir melted butter, ½ cup Gruyère, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper into crumbs; set aside.

2. Melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in garlic and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and bring to simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced to about 3½ cups, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in curly-leaf spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Off heat, stir in mustard, nutmeg, 1½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1½ cups Gruyère until cheese is melted. Stir in thawed frozen spinach until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

4. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over spinach mixture. Bake until bubbling around edges and crumbs are golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. Combine parsley and lemon zest in bowl; sprinkle over gratin. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Crumb mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Spinach mixture can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, bake gratin until hot throughout, 15 to 20 minutes, then proceed with step 4.


  1. This is a FANTASTIC recipe! I guess that you really can't taste the spinach; it's more like a vehicle for the cheese and sauce :) I've made this twice and my husband and I just LOVED it :) Thanks Cook's Country!