Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spinach Lovage Gratin

Spinach sometimes gets a bad rap, but this dish is simple yet rich. He recommends several herb substitutes for the lovage. I opted for dill which brightened the dish with a bit of anise flavor, keeping it from being too heavy.

One year ago: Vietnamese Braised Scallops
Two years ago: Chicken Curry with Whole Spices, Cream, and Tomato Sauce
Three years ago: Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy
Four years ago: Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Spinach Lovage Gratin (from The Herbal Kitchen)

3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped
12 ounces spinach (baby or regular with stems trimmed), washed and spun dry
kosher salt
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
3 tbsp chopped lovage OR 1/4 cup chopped dill or mint OR 1 cup chopped sorrel
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dry bread crumbs, divided
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Melt 1 tbsp butter in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add shallots and stir for a minute.
3. Add spinach and 3/4 tsp salt. Toss spinach until it wilts, adding more spinach as you go if it doesn't all fit in the beginning. Once wilted, transfer spinach to a bowl and return to heat.
4. Melt remaining 2 tbsp butter in saucepan and whisk in flour.
5. When roux bubbles, pour in milk and whisk until sauce boils and thickens.
6. Stir in spinach, herb of your choice, 3/4 tsp salt, and a bit of ground pepper.
7. Coat inside of a 6x10 baking dish with 1/2 tbsp of melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp of butter and shake to distribute.
8. Pour sauced spinach into pan.
9. In small bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup bread crumbs, cheese, and remaining 1 tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle on top of gratin.
10. Bake gratin for 25 - 30 minutes until bubbly and browned.

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