All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Friday, May 27, 2011

butter-braised spinach: epinards etuves au beurre

Good beautiful day! I hope you're enjoying this lovely holiday weekend. Here, our lilacs are still blooming after two weeks, thanks to chilly weather and misty rains - heaven! Is anything better than a bouquet in every room during lilac season? That chilly weather makes the trasition to humid, summer heat a little easier - I've been enjoying hearty soups and roasted chicken, along with this lovely side, before the quick jump into summer foods.

I adore spinach: I make a quick spinach soup that instantly recharges me, and a quick blanch and toss for my bento box lunches, lovely with olive oil and hot pepper flakes. But I'd always been curious about Julia Child's recipe for braising spinach in butter. It's a bit long winded, but finally I tried it, and it's a winner. The French have a very unique way of cooking vegetables ( see braised celery and cucumbers) that brings out a deep richness unlike any other recipe for these veggies.

I made it with the mature spinach, as the baby spinach simply doesn't have the heft that the larger leaves of the older spinach have - simply my choice. I de-stemmed the spinach, then did a quick blanch, then braised in nutmeg, butter, and salt and pepper, and oh ,my! - it tingles you right down to your toes. Soothing, warming, and smooth, it's a wonderful side with everything from roasts to chicken to fish and seafood. I could see this working beautifully in an omelet or frittata, as well. There are three very quick steps to this recipe - but make sure you do them all.

Epinards Etuves au Beurre:

(eh-peen-ard ay-too-vey )

Makes 2 servings.

1 large bag spinach ( about 10 ozs),destemmed

4 T. unsalted butter

kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2 pinches of nutmeg, or several scrapings of whole nutmeg


Wash the spinach very well in a bowl of cold water and drain briefly.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil, and drop in the washed spinach. Cook for 5 minutes and drain in a colander, running cold water over the spinach quickly to retain the green color. Squeeze out an excess water.


Melt 2 T. unsalted butter in a skillet or saucepan. When the butter is bubbling, add the spinach, salt and pepper, and two pinches of nutmeg - or about 10 scrapings on a nutmeg grater. Stir until all the moisture in the spinach is gone. Take off heat for a moment

In the same pan, melt 2 T. unsalted butter with the spinach, turn the heat to low, and cook another 10 minutes , stirring often, until the spinach has absorbed the butter and is very, very silky and tender. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, or nutmeg as needed.




kelly said...

I had no idea that lilacs were so fragile. I've always wanted to see them, and never have. I have tried Julia Child's sauteed spinach, though. It's remarkable. I'm a spinach lover so it doesn't take much to twist my arm. Still, it's a lovely recipe. I've got spinach for some soup here as well, but avocados are the star. I thought it was strange until I tried it, and it's wonderful!

katrina said...

Another spinach lover here, Kelly! Though I love barely cooked spinach, I have to admit the French method with butter (butter! Yum.) really is outstanding.
And I envy you your avocados!

Barb said...

I just read Kelly's Comment and was sad to read that she had never seen lilacs!! As gorgeous as they are, what is even more wonderful is the way they smell - heavenly!! I hope you get to see & smell them soneday - you are in for a treat!

As for spinach - YUM! I've always loved spinach - I'm giving this one a try tonight. (Yeah, Julia!)

katrina said...

Hi Barb - I think you'll enjoy that spinach - and we can't feel TOO sorry for Kelly, as she's in the San Diego area with LOTS of great veggies, herbs and fruits year round:) But true, lilac season is a glorious celebration of late Spring, and I wish I could somehow save a bouquet for her...

Barb said...

One more 'Comment' from me - made spinach tonight and it was soooo delicious! Yum! Yum! Yum!

As for Kelly (lucky girl that she is!)...I'd be willing to take a big bunch of lilacs to her personally. I have a lilac bush and a lilac tree in bloom right now (but they aren't going to last too much longer :( - so we'll have to go very soon!) Ready to go?

katrina said...

Hi Barb - glad you liked that lovely spinach ! Isn't it amazing how different it tastes from fresh or slightly wilted spinach?
What a kind offer for you to extend to Kelly! Unfortunately, I didn't get a good picture for her of the lilacs blooming, thanks to our tornado warning and stormy weather ( and hail) - but you can contact her on her blog , Sass and Veracity. She's also on Twitter and FB. Hope your weekend is beautiful ♥