LOCKE-OBER CREAMED SPINACH
I first tasted this spinach dish when my late father-in-law invited my husband and I to join him for dinner at Locke-Ober’s in the Downtown Crossing area of Boston. The restaurant opened in 1875 and for 130 years represented the Brahman traditions of upper crust Bostonians. For me, a farm girl from Montana, the gloved waiters, silver domed platters, miles of polished wood, and complicated place settings seemed a bit overwhelming. After a glass (or two!) of champagne, I relaxed, listened to the waiter carefully explain the menu, and enjoyed the surroundings that have hosted ship captains and American presidents. This Boston institution closed two years ago, but many of the original recipes float around. This dish will turn anyone into a spinach lover.
Nota Bene: This dish can be made ahead and refrigerated. Reheat slowly and thin with a bit of half and half.
2 pounds fresh spinach
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons Pernod (a French licorice flavored pastis liqueur)
2 teaspoons flour
2/3 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Trim the spinach, wash in several changes of water, and cook in a large pot of boiling, salted water over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
2. Drain the spinach and cool under cold running water. Squeeze out excess water and roughly chop.
3. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the Pernod. Using a fork or small whisk, stir in the flour and cook 1-2 minutes more. Add the half and half, and when heated through, add the spinach. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and spinach has wilted (about 3 minutes).
6. Check seasoning, add more salt and nutmeg if needed.