Today is Popeye's 78th birthday. He first appeared in a comic strip called Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929. Since then he has become a fictional beloved character who was perhaps one of the pioneers of healthy living. He must have known that spinach is a great source of iron because he consumes multiple cans of spinach to get big and strong to fight the bad guys. Like Popeye, spinach is my favorite green. It's so versatile and delicious in just about everything: soups, salads, stuffed into meats, pastas and appetizers. Let's celebrate Popeye's birthday by making a classic creamed spinach as a side dish. For the recipe
3 pounds spinach
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wash the spinach in several changes of water to get rid of any grit. Drain the spinach but keep some of the water clinging to the leaves.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the spinach and garlic. Cook, turning frequently, until the spinach has wilted down evenly.
- Remove the garlic and put the spinach into a colander and let it drain well. Press out as much liquid as you can from the leaves and chop them coarsely.
- Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat and add the cream and nutmeg; cook until it reduces a bit, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is hot, about 5 more minutes.
- Serve immediately.