Gratin of Spinach

December 16, 2010 § 1 Comment

I usually open the Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 by Julia Child just to get inspiration for a special dinner that I am going to prepare – in this case Christmas dinner.  However, such parousal always turns into a desire to make something RIGHT NOW from her many recipes.  As luck would have it, the time was getting dangerously close to dinner.

Most of the things in the book are very technical and time consuming (at least for the non-professionals, like myself), but I just had to share this Gratin of Spinach recipe that I adapted from Julia’s Spinach Quiche recipe (found on page 153 of Vol. 1).

I have to first note that a gratin is simply a quiche without the pastry shell.  And if you have ever made a quiche, you know that the pastry (assuming you are making your own from scratch) is the more time consuming portion of the whole process.

Ingredients:

  • 1 finely minced shallot (or green onion, if you prefer)
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1 1/4 cup baby spinach (if you are using older spinach, you should blanche and chop it first)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream (or you can make this half milk, half cream)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter an enamel or ceramic oven-safe baking dish.

Prepare the spinach mixture:

  • Cook the shallots for a few minutes in butter
  • Add spinach and cook until most of spinach water is evaporated
  • Add salt, pepper
  • Take off heat and allow to cool

Prepare the egg mixture:

  • Beat eggs and cream with salt and pepper until blended and starting to get to the borderline of fluffy
  • Once the spinach mixture has cooled, fold it into the egg mixture

Pour the entire mixture into the baking dish.  Place into the upper third of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the gratin has “puffed” and browned.  You will know its finished when you can stick a knife into the middle of the gratin and have it come out clean.

This dish makes a truly special brunch or lunch.  The texture is incredibly fluffy and the spinach is the perfect accompaniment to its smoothness.  If you like to live on the dangerous side of things, you can serve this for dinner.

A note on the Julia Child cookbook mentioned above:
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child is available in a smaller one volume or a two volume set.  Either is a fantastic investment.  This is one of the few cookbook staples that I cannot live without.

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