In “food blog land” you tend to celebrate the holidays a little early, so I have been dreaming up some new recipes in anticipation. Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday (probably because it is so food-centric), and turkey is great, but I am all about the side dishes. Creamed spinach is not necessarily a traditional side, but this rich, cheesy version is quite worthy of the holiday table. I topped it with some fried shallots for an extra boost of flavor and texture. We are doing a small Thanksgiving at home this year but this makes fantastic leftovers, so it works well even if you will not be feeding a crowd.
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound fresh spinach
- 2 green onions, trimmed and chopped
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 ounces creme fraiche
- 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-or-3-quart baking dish.
- In a large pot with a lid, cook the mushrooms in the two tablespoons of butter until the mushrooms are soft. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked mushrooms to the prepared baking dish.
- Using the same pot, cook the spinach over medium-high heat in batches, and cover while each batch wilts, adding more as space allows. When all of the spinach has been wilted, place it in a food processor along with the green onions, white pepper, salt, creme fraiche, and parmesan cheese. You can do this in batches if your food processor is small. Blend until smooth, and then transfer the mixture into the baking dish with the mushrooms. Stir to blend in the mushrooms.
- Bake the spinach mixture for 20 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges. While it is baking, prepare the shallots. Heat the tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn golden brown and some of them look crispy. Top the spinach casserole with the shallots and serve.
The term “shallot” is often used to refer to spring onions (green onions), but in this case I mean the purple-skinned shallots you will find next to the onions in your grocery store. I had a mutant-sized giant shallot from our C.S.A. share, so one shallot yielded a full cup when thinly sliced–two of a more normal size would likely yield a cup. Onions don’t work as well for this, as they are too thick to really crisp up. If you can’t find shallots this would be great on its own, possibly sprinkled with a little extra cheese during the last few minutes of baking.
We spent the weekend up in Estes Park, our favorite little mountain town that is also the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. They were hit pretty hard by the flooding, but most of the businesses are up and running and looking for customers! We had a great time wandering around downtown and in the park. I’ll leave you with a shot of Long’s Peak, from one of the trailheads:
Thanks for reading,