October 3, 2014
Provencal spinach gratin sounds a lot more complex than the reality of this très simple dish. This recipe is ridiculously easy and versatile. We all need those veggie sides that can slide with ease into our dinner plate rotation. I almost didn’t share this recipe, worried that it was too easy and simple to be blog worthy. As I made it for the sixth time in two weeks I realized this fall powerhouse was shout out worthy.
I adapted this gratin from Simple French Food by Richard Olney. I have a large collection of cookbooks filling the bookshelves in our family room, but a rotation of current favorites always sit on the kitchen counter tucked between the sugar and flour. Simple French Food has been hanging out there for months. It’s a total classic, originally published in 1974 — a very good year! Any foodie should have this in their collection.
Back to the recipe, this is basically a healthy one-pot version of spinach gratin — meaning no mixing a roux on the stove. The spinach gets lovely and crispy on the top, soft and flavorful underneath. I would love to say I used the greens from my garden, but ten ounces is a ton of spinach and my garden is not giving that kind of mass at the moment.
I like to use a larger/deep pie plate (like the one pictured above from Emile Henry) or a gratin dish. I’ve substituted kale for the spinach with great success. We’ve served it up as straight up side dish, used it as a bed for pork tenderloin, an easy lunch topped with a poached egg and the most popular in my house —used it as stuffing for spinach hand pies.
Simple Spinach Gratin
Makes 4 servings
10 ounces baby organic spinach or baby kale
1/3 cup olive oil (divided)
2 tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Coat a large pie plate with olive oil, using about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil— rubbing the oil all around with your fingers. Rough chop your greens. Press half the greens into your dish and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the rest of the greens, this will look like a heap of greens but it will cook down. Sprinkle with flour and evenly coat the top with the rest of the olive oil. Gently pat the top of the mixture so the oil and flour become friends and jive together. Then, season with a bit more salt and pepper. Place in the 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn down the heat to 375 and continue to cook for 40 more minutes. Serve warm.