It is currently week two of San Diego Restaurant week. During week one, we had dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Del Mar and were served an amazing creamed spinach casserole as a side dish, and I thought this would be a great new way to prepare spinach – something different from the spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil that I normally do.
I found a few recipes online for Ruth’s Chris Creamed Spinach – however, I felt that there were a few strange ingredients listed (like cloves?) and not enough other seasonings to give a good flavor. I’ve had the dish at Ruth’s Chris… and looking at the bland ingredients… it just didn’t seem right. (I’m sure the actual recipe is secret, so there must be a few things they are leaving out). I tweaked the recipe a bit and added Parmesan cheese and nutmeg to increase the flavor. I also prefer to use unsalted butter – it’s much easier to add salt if needed than potentially start with too much salt.
As it stands, this parmesan creamed spinach makes a wonderful accompaniment to a prime rib roast or steak dinner. The best part about this dish is that it can be prepared ahead of time and reheated just before serving – which makes it a perfect choice for dinner parties or holiday dinners. Enjoy!
Parmesan Creamed Spinach:
- 1 lb. baby spinach
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, chopped (or 1/3 c. chopped red onion)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (& extra for sprinkling)
- 1/4 c. flour
- 2 c. milk
- 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1. Microwave the spinach in a large bowl for 4-5 minutes.
2. Allow to cool, squeeze out the water, and roughly chop.
3. In a large saute pan (or use a wok, like I did here… hee hee!), melt the butter.
4. Add the chopped shallot, bay leaf, salt, and nutmeg. Saute the shallot over medium heat for about 2 minutes (when the shallot becomes translucent).
5. Stir in the flour to create a roux, and cook for about 1 minute until the mixture is uniform with no lumps.
6. Slowly add the milk, while stirring to incorporate the roux.
7. Cook and stir the milk mixture to a gentle boil and the mixture thickens.
8. Remove the bay leaf. Turn off the heat, and stir in 3/4 c. Parmesan cheese. (Reserve 1/4 cup Parmesan for the topping.)
9. Stir in the chopped spinach, and mix together until combined well. Pour the mixture into a large casserole dish, and top with the remaining 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of extra nutmeg (optional). Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
10. You can store this in the refrigerator (covered) for up to a day in advance at this point. Otherwise, you can bake immediately.
11. To heat, bring the casserole to room temperature first, then bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you plan to bake this immediately (instead of refrigerating overnight), then it will be done after 10-15 minutes in the oven.