This is one of those classic "steak house" dishes that I could never pass up when dining out and enjoying a well-marbled Rib Eye, but never thought to make at home. Not sure why, as it's really a pretty simple dish to make but up until very recently creamed spinach was only a restaurant treat for me.
It could be because the word "cream" relegated the dish to special occasion status in my mind, or perhaps it's "old school" reputation left me searching for a more modern twist like this Creamed Kale dish I came up with a while back. Whatever the reason, I'm so glad I finally came around to trying this dish because you know what….it's a classic for a reason.
This side is surprisingly simple to put together and pairs with all sorts good stuff not just expensive cuts of beef, and calls for much less cream than you might think. It's a side that has a do-ahead component (steaming the spinach) to ease with dinner prep timing which is also nice. Steaming and draining the spinach in advance leaves just a quick toss of the veg in the cream sauce, and final seasoning before plating. Give this a try, and you too will be wondering why you've only enjoyed it as a restaurant treat all these years.
Cheers – Steve
- 2 pounds fresh spinach (mature crinkly leaves, not flat baby leaves), stems removed
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg to taste (about 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Wash the spinach thoroughly in 2 changes of cold water (even if it's bagged and says it's pre-washed), but don't dry the leaves just leave them in a colander to drain naturally. Set a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add half of the wet spinach to it. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cover to steam. Stir frequently and cook until wilted 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a colander set in the sink and repeat with the balance of the uncooked spinach.
- Allow all of the cooked spinach to cool in the colander until cool to the touch, then reach in with both hands and grab handfuls of spinach and squeeze as much water out of it as you can (as if you were making a snowball). Transfer your balls of spinach to a cutting board and roughly chop.
- Wipe out the pan that you had steamed the spinach in, then set it over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan, then add the garlic and gently saute until lightly golden. Add the flour and stir constantly until pale and smooth, about a minute. Whisk in the milk and cream in a steady stream and cook until the sauce is smooth and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium-low, then add the spinach back to the pan. Toss to combine with the cream sauce, add the pinch of red pepper flakes (if using) and dust with a grating of fresh nutmeg. Add the parmigiano cheese, stir to incorporate, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.