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Creamed Spinach

The béchamel sauce can be prepared a day or two in advance. Let the sauce cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. It will become very thick as it cools. If the sauce is still too thick when reheated, add a bit of milk.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 yellow onion stuck with 1 clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 lb. baby spinach, stemmed and rinsed well

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and bubbling without browning, about 2 minutes. Cool the roux slightly.

In another saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk just until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Gradually add the milk to the roux, whisking constantly until the milk is fully incorporated. Add the onion and bay leaf, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and very lightly with white pepper and nutmeg. Cover the béchamel sauce tightly or brush the surface with melted butter to prevent a skin from forming on top; keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large pot with a steamer basket in place, steam the spinach until wilted and tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and chop coarsely. Drain the excess liquid.

Remove the onion and bay leaf from the béchamel sauce, add the spinach and stir until blended. Adjust the seasonings with salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.