Spinach Madeleine – A Treat from South Louisiana
- Two nice sized pots, one to cook the spinach and the other to save the liquid (vegetable liquor) used to cook the spinach.
- You will need a medium to large fine mesh strainer to separate the spinach and vegetable liquor.
- A large deep sided sauce pan for the onions, seasonings, milk, vegetable liquor and cheese sauce to be blended with the spinach.
- A chopping board, stirring spatulas, measuring cups and spoons and various knives to chop the onions and cut up the cheese.
- In addition, it is customary for the chef to enjoy a glass or two of fine red wine during the preparation of this classic dish.
- 6 (8 oz.) packages of frozen chopped spinach.
- 12 Tablespoons of butter.
- 8 Tablespoons of flour.
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped.
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) evaporated milk (Pet Milk comes in 12 oz. cans).
- 1 ½ cups of vegetable liquor (see above description of what this is).
- 1 ½ teaspoons of ground black pepper, a bit more won’t hurt.
- 3 teaspoons of garlic salt, a little bit extra won’t hurt.
- 3 teaspoons of celery salt, a little extra won’t hurt.
- 3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, a little extra won’t hurt.
- 18 ounces of Jalapeno Pepper Jack Cheese, NO more, NO Less (cut into chunks, helps to makes it melt).
- Red Pepper (Cayenne) to taste (read below very carefully!).
From start to finish I can knock this out in about 35-45 minutes depending on step 2
- Cook spinach according to directions on package. After the spinach is cooked drain the liquid (vegetable liquor) from the spinach and save for later use. Be aggressive and attempt to get as much liquid out of the spinach as you can.
- Enjoy the fine wine.
- In the large saucepan: melt the butter, then add flour, stirring until blended and smooth but not brown. Add the chopped onions and cook until soft but not brown.
- Slowly add the evaporated milk and vegetable liquor, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until smooth and thick, continue stirring while adding the pepper, garlic salt, celery salt and Worcestershire sauce.
- Add the cut up cheese and cook until the cheese is completely melted.
- READ CAREFULLY: Now the tricky part!!! Stirring in the Red (Cayenne) Pepper!! The recipe says to add red pepper to taste. Go slowly and add a bit at a time, a few shakes over the simmering sauce then dab on finger to test. Note: It will take a few seconds for taste buds to discover the delicate seasonings. Repeat until you find the amount right for you. It should have a bite to it in the end. You can always blend in a little more to spice it up but you can’t tone it down if you put in too much.
- When step 6 is completed pour the onion and cheese sauce over the well drained spinach and blend thoroughly. The final concoction may be served immediately or put into a casserole and topped with buttered bread crumbs (I do not do the bread crumb bit, never have). I feel the flavor is enhanced if the latter is done and the finished product is kept in the refrig overnight, then reheated. This can easily serve 12-16 people and is great with just about any type of meat, especially beef. Any extra amounts can be bagged in a zip lock bag or put in a plastic container, then frozen for future use.
NOTE: It is very important to be accurate when adding the liquids and cheese as this ensures the proper consistency of the final product – not too thick, not too runny.
I hope you enjoy it and remember,
“Never Curse a Par” and cheer for the LSU Tigers!!!