spinach crepes and roast beet salad . . .

by mulberryshoots

I love spinach and wanted to cook it while it’s still robust and fresh from the market. My husband, G. noticed that our meals have been shifting to more flavor while being light on the digestion. With this encouragement, I’m going to make spinach crepes for dinner and roast beets for a salad on the side.

There are lots of spinach crepe recipes online. Most of them consist of crepes that are filled with a spinach filling. One of them mixed the spinach into the batter and topped the crepes with some grated cheese. I’m fond of creamed spinach because of its flavor and because I also happen to have some fresh cream in the fridge. Here’s my recipe:

  1. Rinse and dry spinach, cut off woody stems and chop up the leaves. This first step is consequential for the quality of your dish. I rinsed the fresh spinach down to the stalks under running water; then I filled a large red bowl with the rinsed spinach and soaked it for sand and grit. Finally, I rinsed each stalk and then cut off the woody stalks, only keeping the leaves and cutting them very thinly before adding to the skillet to cook. Even so, after all these steps, there was a fine gritty film on the bottom of the bowl when I rinsed it out. No one wants grit in fresh spinach. But you really have to be diligent to ensure the spinach is truly clean. Enough said.
  2. Peel and chop two good-sized shallot and cook gently in unsalted butter; turn up the heat while adding the thinly sliced spinach leaves and cook until wilted.
  3. Add some salt, pepper and grate some nutmeg into the spinach. I usually add a tad of cornstarch to the cream and stir it in to thicken the spinach. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
  4. If you’d like to saute up some fresh mushrooms and add to the mix, that’s good too.
  5. Let cool and set aside.
  6. Make crepes: combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons melted butter into a thin batter.
  7. Cook the crepes in an 8 inch pan (about 1/4 cup batter per crepe,) letting the batter skin coat the surface of the pan; flip when tiny bubbles appear, cook the other side and stack them on a plate.
  8. Finish this dish by filling each crepe with creamed spinach mixture and roll up, placing them in a greased baking dish. Spread a little butter along tops of rolled crepes and grate parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350 in the oven until the crepes are heated through and the cheese is light golden.

On to the roasted beet salad. Put cleaned beets into a shallow baking pan with water in the bottom. If the beets are big, cut them into halves or wedges to help them cook through.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375-400 degrees for an hour or until the beets are fork tender. They take a long time to cook through.

Let them cool slightly, run them under cold water and skin them, cut off the ends and cut into smaller wedges. I also added a scant half of cut-up honey crisp apple.

I have arugula and butter lettuce for the salad greens – add the beets and dress with my current vinaigrette: white balsamic vinegar, fig vinegar, a dab of Poupon mustard, clove of crushed garlic, honey, walnut and olive oil; a squeeze of fresh lemon. I have this dressing made up in a glass jar at room temperature and use it up until I make another batch of dressing with slightly different ingredients.

Honestly, this meal required a lot of preparation – some of the cleaning process for fresh spinach could have been shortened by using baby bagged spinach or frozen spinach. However, the crepes were SO delicious that I do think using fresh farmstand spinach made it so flavorful. As I filled the crepes and rolled them up, I thought “never again” to myself as I slid the copper pan in the oven.

But they were so good that I’m afraid I’ve gotten myself into a corner and may have to make them again soon. Actually, I was thinking it might be a good way to serve creamed chicken from leftover roast chicken too.