Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spinach and Bacon Gratin with Hardboiled Eggs

My family finished off this dish in one sitting.  Kids included.  It wasn't my favorite dinner, but had just enough cheese and bacon to keep everyone coming back for more.  And it can be made ahead of time, which is a big bonus for me these days.

adapted from this recipe

2 10oz. packages frozen spinach
4-5 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
two shakes ground nutmeg
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Monteray Jack cheese, grated
4 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (just add a little herbs de provence or italian seasoning if you want to make your own or buy plain bread crumbs)

Thaw spinach and squeeze well, draining off as much liquid as you can.  Put in a large bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Heat a medium skillet on medium high and add chopped bacon (my kitchen scissors are perfect for cutting it up).  Cooke 1-2 minutes, then add onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are starting to brown and bacon is beginning to crisp.  Drain grease if you want to, or don't.  Either way, add bacon mixture to spinach and stir well.

Warm milk either on stove or in microwave until steaming.  Set aside.  Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Whisk in flour and continue whisking until clumps are gone, about one minute.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in milk.  Whisk until smooth, then return to heat and bring to a low simmer.  Simmer 2-3 minutes until starting to thicken.  Add to spinach bowl and mix well to combine.

Pour spinach mixture into round casserole dish and even out the surface.  Sprinkle surface with grated cheese.  Cut hardboiled eggs in half and place on surface of cheese, cut side up.  Press eggs into mixture until level with the spinach.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and drizzle with olive oil.

You can made this ahead of time.  Leave off bread crumbs and olive oil and refrigerate up to 24 hours.  When ready to bake, sprinkle on bread crumbs, drizzle olive oil and follow the rest of the directions.  

Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned on top.  Broil for 1-2 minutes if you want the bread crumbs extra crispy.

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