We’ve had an unusually dry and warm spring here in Calgary so I’ve been able to sow some veggies earlier than I would usually (some years, we still have snow on the ground at this time!). Spinach is a cool-weather crop that I put in almost three weeks ago — it can handle the cold temperatures that we’re still seeing overnight. I’m looking forward to a harvest of some baby leaves very soon!
If you have a bounty of spinach and you have eaten your fill of salad, creamed spinach makes a good side for most meat dishes and even pasta. This version doesn’t have the cream and cheese of other recipes. Here’s how to make it:
1 stick butter
8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (the more garlicky the better in my books, but you might not be as keen)
2 cups milk (this recipe works equally well with either low-fat or whole milk)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp nutmeg (if you don’t like it, you can omit it)
Large handful of fresh spinach leaves, about 24 ounces, washed thoroughly (you don’t want critters in your saucepan!)
Prepare the spinach. Place the leaves in a shallow saucepan and cover with about 1/2 cup water. Cover the pan with a lid and heat on medium-high. Check the spinach after about five minutes — it should be thoroughly wilted (if not, keep it on the heat a bit longer. Make sure the lid of the pot is in place). Remove from heat and drain the water off. Set the spinach aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the minced garlic, cooking for 1 or 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the flour and stir. The mixture will clump up. Very slowly add the milk in small increments, stirring constantly. The mixture should start taking on a creamy, sauce-like consistency. Once all the milk is added, add the steamed spinach and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper and nutmeg, if using. Enjoy!