Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash: Pistou-Crumbed Creamed Spinach

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

It amazes me how I've managed to become a tourist in my own hometown. As I prepare to fly back to New York after months abroad, I've found myself doing what any other red-blooded visitor to New York might do: making reservations at steakhouses for a good New York steak—specifically Peter Luger, to which I've shamefully never been, and BLT Prime. And as I longingly sit in front of MenuPages pondering what I'll order, I realize the thing I'm looking forward to the most is just a supporting player: the creamed spinach.

It's been one of my favorites since I used to pile it on top of hamburgers as a little girl. Reassuringly, conscientiously vegetal, there is a Popeyed redemption in creamed spinach. But then, there's that comfort of Maman's gratin—bubbling, luscious. In my world, the steak just plays second fiddle.

For this version, I simply stir chopped spinach with cream, and bake it like a gratin. But the flavor comes from a mixture of basil and garlic pistou, rubbed with crumbs of rubbled baguette and soft, sweet butter that melts down into the awaiting bed of creamy spinach beneath. It comes out of the oven crisp on top, like a gratin should be, but bubbling and beckoning beneath. It's "I Love NY" and "Paris, Je T'aime" in one perfect melting pot.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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