Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall’s The River Cottage Year.
I agree with Hugh in the fact that good creamed spinach is worthy of adoration. I like his recipe because he uses a béchamel, instead of just cream, and this, of course, enhances the delight.
Serves 2 or 4, depending on whether you serve it as a side dish or a main.
Wash and trim the spinach, remove any big stalks. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the spinach in batches. Don’t overcook the spinach, 1 minute in the water should be sufficient. Remove the leaves from water with a slotted spoon and refresh in cold water, then squeeze with your hands to extract as much water as you can before roughly chopping it.
Then make the béchamel. Finely chop (or grate) a small onion and put it in a pan with the milk, bay leaf and some pepper and nutmeg. Bring almost to the boiling point and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain the hot milk into a warmed jug.
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in some flour to get a loose roux. Cook this gently for a few minutes, then add half the warm, seasoned milk and whisk. When the sauce is thick and smooth, stir in the rest of the milk. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for aprox. a minute and then stir in the chopped spinach. Heat through, but don’t let it boil, adjust the seasoning and voilá!
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