New Orleans Creamed Spinach
Last week I was in New Orleans for a food and farming conference, and as you might imagine, the participants took a real interest in local cuisine. Which was excellent, of course, since New Orleans food is justifiably revered all over the world. However, I was struck by the ubiquity of food with lots of cream, butter, and other forms of oleaginous inputs, including fried foods. I even had one dish deep-fried and THEN smothered in a cream and butter sauce! It was not a good week for vegetable intake. The Creoles maintain that the concomitant high intake of spirituous beverages helps even out the fat intake and protects the heart from adverse outcomes. I’m not so sure about that, so I’ll opt for more veggies in the diet. Here is a dish popular in the restaurants of New Orleans; I ate a particularly good version of it at Galatoire’s, one of New Orleans’ finest restaurants. This version comes courtesy of Brennan’s, another fine New Orleans establishment. At Brennan’s this delightful Spinach dish is served as a base for poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce. In order to recreate that experience at home, poach two Lindenhof eggs per person, place on a bed of cream spinach, and pour a generous amount of Hollandaise Sauce over the top (for a recipe for Hollandaise: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/HOLLANDAISE-104919). Please note that this recipe follows the theme of Creole cooking of placing butter sauces on buttery foods. You may wish to consult with your doctor before attempting this at home. If you do, and if you wish to recreate the entire Breakfast at Brennan’s experience, you will need to accompany the meal with large quantities of Brennan’s Brandy Milk Punch, followed by Bananas Foster or Bread Pudding with whiskey sauce. “Laissez le bon temps roulet!"
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter
- 10 ounces fresh spinach leaves washed, stemmed and chopped
- 1½ cups onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups scalded milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch of white pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- Melt ½ cup butter in a large sauté pan; add the spinach and cook over medium heat a few minutes until wilted.
- In a large saucepan, melt the remaining ¼ cup butter.
- Add the onion and cook over medium heat until tender.
- Using a whisk, blend the flour into the mixture, and gradually pour in the milk.
- Stir until smooth, and add the spinach.
- Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
- When the mixture is thick and warmed through, remove it from the heat and serve.