Wish Upon A Dish: Spinach Gratin

April 13, 2011

Spinach Gratin

This dish started as a basic saute of spinach with red peppers and some spice to serve with my Tangerine Beef dish last night.

The finished dish evolved around the concept that I needed to make a fattening vegetable side dish that My Dad would eat a lot of. When I saw him Monday he had lost another 8 pounds and was hovering at 125....not good. If this was for us, I would use an egg and butter substitute but this dish is perfectly OK for a Diabetic as is. My goal is to add calories to my Dad's food, so if you are not on a mission to cut out fat in your diet, then this gratin is for you.

He loves spinach and cheese so it was only natural to add Brie and cream and bacon and butter and eggs. Can't get any more fattening for a spinach dish than that.

With the addition of whipped eggs the consistency was that of a souffle'd gratin.
I love Stouffers Spinach Souffle but can not buy it anywhere near where I live anymore.

I should have baked it in a smaller pan. It ended up being only 1 1/2" high. I would have preferred a 3" piece. Next time I will bake it in a 5x6" Pyrex.

The gratin had a very light consistency with the addition of the eggs. I would love to make spinach crepes with the leftovers or use it as a filling for an omelet.
It would also make a great filling for cannelloni or raviolis. If I make this again I would have less cream & cheese and more spinach.
Probably after I try it again (we know things taste better a day later) I will like it more as a gratin.

If you do not want a BIG spinach flavor then one box of frozen will be fine.
I would suggest buying an organic good quality frozen spinach though, because if you buy the store generic you will get all stems, and they are bitter. I used Whole Foods brand and it was a good quality chopped spinach.

Spinach Gratin
makes (1) 9x13" pan
* 1 -2 box(es) organic frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
* 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/4" dice
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup chopped brie
* 1 small can evaporated milk
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 3 roasted red pepper strips, chopped (or 1/4 red pepper, chopped)
* 2/3 cup Romano cheese
* salt & pepper to taste
* red pepper flakes, to taste
* 1/8 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
* 2 eggs beaten well

Saute bacon in a non-stick pan. When it get browned on the edges, add the garlic. Saute until it softens. Add flour and butter to make a roux.
Once the flour is moistened and incorporated, add the cream and evaporated milk.
Add the brie and stir until melted.
Add nutmeg, salt, pepper and red pepper.
Add Roman cheese and chopped roasted red pepper. In a bowl with the spinach, pour cheese mixture in and stir to blend. Add eggs and mix well.
Spray a baking dish with Pam and pour the spinach mix in.
Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Add some additional grated cheese (optional) and return to oven for 5 more minutes.
Remove and let sit for 10 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.
If baking in a pan smaller than 9x13" bake for 40 minutes.

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