Friday, December 26, 2008

Creamed spinach

Yesterday’s Christmas dinner was a real treat. 2 of the 3 dishes that comprised the meal were prepared a day ahead, freeing us up to spend the afternoon house-hopping with our dear friends Lew and Leslie. The advance prep was for a whole roast duck and a pear and parsnip puree.

We had our first bloody Mary in the lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel at 12:30 pm. Subsequent bloodies were tail-gated as we arrived at our various destinations. Yep, I had a cooler with vodka and tomato juice/clamato/hot sauce all ready to go. So we dropped in on friends with our own libations in hand.

We did have the good sense to limit our snacking to the point where we didn’t spoil our appetites for a sumptuous dinner.

There was plenty of time for me to assemble the final dish, creamed spinach. I haven’t been overwhelmed by my previous attempts at this, but this time I got it right. You certainly can use fresh baby spinach. I think next time I will. But for now we had frozen spinach on hand.

Creamed spinach
2 10 oz. bags individually quick-frozen spinach
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, pressed
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in the oil and add the spinach. Heat until thawed, then add in the garlic. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add salt and pepper.

In a bowl, mix together the mascarpone and cream. Add to the spinach and bring it all to a simmer. Top with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, taste for seasonings, and serve in hot bowls.

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