A few weeks ago (for Bob’s birthday) we went out to dinner with my in-laws to that new steakhouse in Latham, Filet 7 West. It was okay – food was decent, service was good, but it was extremely overpriced and not a good value, in my opinion.
As is usual with high-end steakhouses, entrees (read: steaks) are quite expensive, and the sides are served a la carte, family-style. Bob had Prime Rib (surprise, surprise), and I had Spice Crusted Top Sirloin. My steak was a perfect medium-rare, and Bob’s was deliciously medium. We decided to order two sides for the table – whipped truffled potatoes and creamed spinach.
Now, I’ve always claimed to hate spinach, but I was feeling adventurous that night, and enthusiastically agreed to the spinach (knowing it wasn’t going to be my only side dish option). I am so glad I did.
I don’t think I’d ever tried creamed spinach before, so I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was: creamy, rich, with the distinct earthy green taste of the wilted spinach. I just couldn’t get enough! I think I licked the bowl clean (after letting my in-laws take their share, of course). So, naturally, I decided that I had to recreate this at home.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I took advantage of the fresh veggies at the Schenectady Farmers Market last week. Part of my haul included a bag of fresh spinach. Creamed Spinach, here I come! BUT – there’s one catch: I joined Weight Watchers a few weeks ago, and restaurant-style creamed spinach is most definitely NOT on my Core foods list. So, not only did I need to re-create creamed spinach, I needed to lighten it up as well. I was up to the challenge!
Here’s the SPECTACULAR recipe I devised (patting myself on the back):
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- A lot of fresh, washed spinach – DO NOT DRY
- 1/2 cup Fat Free half and half (I use Land O’ Lakes)
- 2 tablespoons buttery spray (such as Olivio)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Freshly grated or ground nutmeg, to taste
Mix together half & half, butter spray, and chicken stock. Set aside.
Saute onion on a little olive oil over medium heat, until lightly browned. Add garlic, and saute one minute more. Remove from pan.
Add spinach to pan, along with a couple tablespoons water, and cover. Let the spinach steam until it’s good and wilted. It’s okay to cram it all into the pan – it will shrink A LOT. When the spinach is all wilted, add the onions back into the pan and stir together.
Add the half & half mixture, and cook over medium heat until thick and creamy. If needed, as more half & half until you get the desired consistency. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve immediately.
Incidentally, from what I read on Steve Barnes’ Table Hopping blog, Filet 7 West has decided to change things around, and has thus lost its chef. I’m not surprised at all. This is not a restaurant I would make a special trip for. Service was okay, but I just wasn’t impressed. The dessert we shared – “Donuts and Coffee”: Hot Sugar Donuts, Coffee Semifreddo, Espresso – was mediocre at best. The donuts reminded me of the ones you can buy at the front counter at Stewart’s, and the Coffee Semifreddo was Semiflavorless. Too bad – it sounded so promising.
Here is a recipe for The Berghoff’s famous creamed spinach: