Spinach-from-the-oven on a Bed of Potatoes
In the Netherlands they’ve told us for years that you could not re-heat spinach or leave it boiling (as the nitrates that are then formed are bad for you). Well, apparently they’re not saying that in other countries, so I guess it nonsense. And a good thing too: I’ve been making this spinach from the oven dish for many years now.
Actually, it’s not called “Spinach from the Oven” at all, it’s just what my family call it. Its official name is “Eggs Florentine” and the recipe I have is from a vegetarian cook book called Home Cooking (1990) by Linda McCartney (former wife of Paul).
We find it delicious! It’s one of the favorite meals of my family. It’s lovely creamy spinach with eggs (always a good combination) with a very tasty cheesy topping that goes slightly crusty in places (the crusty bits we especially favor).
It’s a bit laborious to start with but then it goes in the oven, and you can start washing the dishes that you’ve used so far, or relax while it’s getting ready.
Recipe for 4:
Start off by poaching 6 eggs (I open them in a pan of boiling water then leave them to cook until the yellows are soft). After that, I pre-heat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6, grease an oven dish, and peel the potatoes (your normal amount for 4 people) and leave them in a pan with water for later.
My spinach comes ready-made¹ in glass jars (I use 2 X 480 gram jars) but you could also take fresh spinach: cook it, then puree it in a blender². Or use frozen spinach! Linda suggests 1.5 lb or 680 grams of fresh spinach.
Make the spinach nice and creamy: Melt 1 oz/28gr butter in a saucepan and sprinkle 0.5 oz/15 gr butter op top, stir well. Add the spinach puree and cook for 2-3 minutes. Spoon this in an oven dish (Linda says shallow, but I make such amounts that I need a deep dish) and place the poached eggs on top.
Prepare the cheesy topping: Melt another 1 oz/28 gr butter in a saucepan and stir in 0.5 oz/15 gr butter. Gradually add about 10 fl oz / 280 ml of milk (or half milk, half cream), but be careful, don’t make it too runny. Bring to simmering point and leave for 3 minutes.
Then remove from the heat and add 2 oz/55gr grated Cheddar cheese (Gouda or Edam and equivalents will do nicely, too). When this is melted, you’ve got a slightly thick sauce that you can now pour over the spinach and eggs (try to cover most of the surface).
Bake for 15 minutes (says Linda) or 30-45 minutes (says me) until the cheese topping is golden brown. After you put the spinach dish in the oven, start boiling the potatoes.
When it’s ready, it should look something like this:
Spinach-from-the-Oven in Oven Dish
Spoon the potatoes on plates and add spoonfuls of the spinach dish. Enjoy!
¹ The reason I use ready-made spinach is that I vowed many years ago never to make fresh spinach again: I lived in student accommodation with an unheated kitchen and with a cold water-only tap. To wash and rewash spinach in those circumstances is a once-but-never-again event. I have never wanted to touch fresh spinach after that. I made one exception for my spinach-loving son, after we visited a local farm and bought many lovely fruits, dairy products, and vegetables, amongst which spinach. He was amazed by its shrinking properties!
² I never puree the spinach that I use (from a jar) because I find the pureeing awkward and messy, and unnecessary.