Baked spinach mornay is made with fresh spinach, heavy cream, Fontina cheese, onion, garlic, and nutmeg. It’s cold-weather comfort for holidays and all of winter. Sure beats salad.
This eminently entertaining-worthy side is essentially potato gratin, save for the fact that the delicately nutty, cheesy white sauce flecked with nutmeg is enveloping gently wilted spinach leaves and not sliced spuds. Sure beats salad. Originally published October 31, 2012.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Baked Spinach Mornay
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 H
- Serves 6
- 3 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 oz)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 7 ounces fontina cheese, cubed or grated
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 pounds fresh spinach leaves, rinsed, patted completely dry, and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- 2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to sizzle. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook, stirring constantly, until a thick paste forms, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and, whisking constantly, slowly, slowly pour in the milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth, lump-free, and has thickened somewhat, which should probably take a few minutes. Add the cheese and stir until it’s completely melted and melded into the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat.
- 3. Melt the remaining butter in a wok or large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add the spinach, cover the wok or pot with a lid, and cook, uncovering and stirring often, until the spinach has wilted. (The amount of time this will take depends on the size of your pan, the precise heat of your burner, and whether you’re using delicate baby spinach or sturdy mature spinach.)
- 4. Transfer the sautéed spinach mixture to a colander or strainer lined with paper towels and firmly press to remove any excess liquid, being careful not to lose the onion and garlic with the liquid. Place the spinach mixture in an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish or gratin dish, pour in the reserved cheese sauce, and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the nutmeg and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbling. Serve at once, while still hot.