One of Walker’s and my favorite brunch places in Beijing had the option of a creamed spinach for a side dish for any of its egg dishes, and it was at this New York style restaurant where I discovered my love for this dish. It was such a decadent way to fool yourself into believing that you were making healthy choices before noon on a Sunday morning, but going to that restaurant required two cabs and more money than I enjoy spending on breakfast on a budget.
There was no choice but to find a way to eat the same rich spinach at home, for a fraction of the cost, and without having to go out in the cold. The version I fell in love with was cheesey and it was a sharp earthy taste which had a beautiful contrast with the fresh taste in the spinach, so I went out looking for a recipe which used just enough cheese to liven up the spinach, but not so much as to make it oily.
I found a recipe here that seemed like it might work well. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for simply because I can’t get those exact ingredients here. So I needed to fake it, and then add flavor in elsewhere. So here’s what I actually did:
- 4 Tbls. butter – divided, 2 and 2
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 dash ground nutmeg (fresh)
- 1/3 cup cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 oz. low fat cream cheese
- 1 sm. onion – minced
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- (1) 16 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
Other than the ingredient changes, I followed the directions exactly. Instead of adding water like she suggested, I just let the water from the frozen spinach thaw as I heated it, and it worked out beautifully. I went with Asiago instead of Parmesan because the Parmesan I had planned on using was too dry, and I figured Asiago has a similar salty and earthy flavor.
I got 7 servings out of it, and put each serving in a little ramekin. I topped each ramekin with another little sprinkle of cheese and grated some fresh nutmeg over the top. I’ve saran wrapped them and put them in the freezer. When time comes to eat them, I pop them in the oven and let the cheese melt bubble before pulling it out to serve. We ate them as a part of our Christmas brunch, and I’m sure we will eat them for several other meals too. It’s a quick and easy way to have your veggies already prepared for dinner when you’re too tired to put in much effort. So easy, and so delicious.
My in-house critic was too busy eating his spinach to tell me what he thought about it, but I’m pretty sure his series of mmm’s was a good thing.