Gratin of any description is considered classic French cooking. A gratin is a baked dish but what makes it distinctive is a light covering of cheese and or breadcrumbs. Within the gratin will be any kind of vegetable robust enough to stand up to being baked, root vegetables are one of the best to use. With green vegetables, the favoured vegetable is leaf spinach. It may not be a tough root, but it bakes extremely well and keeps its taste.
This spinach gratin recipe will be at home on any dinner menu, be it for a relaxed family supper or a special holiday meal. A touch of thyme and a dusting of cheese sparks up the flavor of this beloved classic dish.
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 2 pounds spinach, rinsed, drained, and chopped
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
How to make a French spinach au gratin:
Preheat the oven to 375F and butter a gratin dish.
Sauté the onion in the olive oil for five minutes in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and continue sautéing the mixture for 30 seconds. Add the salt, pepper, dried thyme, and spinach to the pan and stir until the ingredients are combined. Cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat to low.
Allow the spinach to wilt for 3 minutes.
Stir the milk and heavy cream into the spinach mixture and turn it out into the buttered gratin dish. Then stir together the melted butter, bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle the bread crumbs over the gratin. Bake the spinach gratin in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly, and the bread crumbs have turned golden brown.
This spinach gratin recipe makes four side dish servings.
Alternatives to a Spinach Gratin:
This dish is a simple and tasty way of serving healthy spinach. However, there are several, alternatives to using it.
In addition to the spinach, add a lightly, steamed florets of broccoli before baking.
Mix the spinach with some curly kale and proceed with the recipe as above.
The choice of cheese can totally alter this dish. Above it is served using Parmesan, to ring the changes use a grated Gruyere, or Emmenthal. A strong cheddar also makes a good topping.
Mix a couple of tablespoons of lightly toasted breadcrumbs to the topping.