Creamed Spinach

This recipe is from one of my all-time favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen -- in fact, this is one of the sites that made me want to start blogging in the first place. Deb's beautiful photography and excellent recipes get me excited every time she has a new post (and she has a cookbook coming out this year! Needless to say, I am very excited). I bought a bunch of spinach at the farmer's market last week and instead of doing the same old sauté with garlic and olive oil, decided it was time for something new. Namely, creamy, creamy cream sauce. This recipe makes a very rich side dish or you could easily top it with an egg and call it dinner. Creamed Spinach (just slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 pounds baby spinach or 2 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, tough stems discarded 1 3/4 cups heavy cream or whole milk, or a mix thereof (I used a mix) 2 shallots, finely chopped 1 small clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Wash your spinach well and shake dry. Place spinach in a large pot over high heat. Cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes for baby spinach and 4 to 6 minutes for regular spinach.

Press or squeeze out the excess liquid any number of ways, either by wringing it out in cheesecloth, putting it in a mesh strainer and pressing the moisture out with a spatula or large spoon or letting it cool long enough to grab small handfuls and squeezing them to remove as much water as possible. Coarsely chop the wrung-out spinach.

Wipe out large pot so you can use it again.

Heat milk or cream in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until warm. Keep warm. Meanwhile, cook shallots and garlic, in butter in the large pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about six minutes. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, about three minutes. Add warm milk or cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, and simmer, whisking, until thickened, three to four minutes. Stir in nutmeg, spinach, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until heated through.