Here’s my version of a classic. The lemon juice brightens the dish considerably. This cream sauce would also go brilliantly with peas.
1 bunch of spinach, large stems removed and then washed thoroughly
Butter (or grapeseed oil) as needed
2-3 shallots, peeled and finely diced, or ½ medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1 juicy lemon, preferably Meyer, cut in half
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pint heavy cream
Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. When hot, add just barely enough oil or butter to film the bottom of the pan.
Add spinach and use tongs to turn in the butter (or oil) to coat, and sauté until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.
Place cooked spinach in a strainer and drain. As soon as spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze to remove extra moisture. Use you hands or roll the spinach in paper towels.
Add a little butter (or oil) to the pan, heat it up, then add the shallots. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper, and then add the thyme. Toss to mix.
Add the cream to the pan and bring to a boil. Be careful it does not boil over – lower the heat so the cream simmers vigorously. Squeeze some of the juice from one half the lemon into the cream, catching the seeds in a strainer or your hand. Give a gentle stir and taste. If it seems to need more lemon, add a little at a time until you get the flavor you want.
While the cream reduces, chop the spinach finely. If you have some, squeeze a little more lemon juice onto the spinach.
As soon as cream is starting to thicken, add the spinach into the pan, and stir gently to mix it into the sauce. Continue cooking until the cream is thickened and coating the spinach lightly.
Taste for seasoning, and for lemon. The flavor should be bright, but not tart. If it is not lemony enough, squeeze lemon juice over the whole dish and stir.
YIELD: Serves 4