Photo by Victor Protasio; Prop styling by Audrey Davis; Food styling by Torie Cox
YieldsServes 8 to 10

At Alfred's Steakhouse in San Francisco, the creamed spinach looks like it's from 1960, but it appeals to modern palates hungry for big flavor: It's made with a smoky bacon-fat roux, plus fennel pollen and chile for spark. Although this recipe is labor-intensive, it's worth it.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

If using regular bunch spinach, rinse and stem leaves, then chop into 2- to 3-in. pieces. Heat oil in a 6- to 8-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook, covered, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, a pinch of salt, and enough spinach to fill pot. Cook, covered, just until wilted; add rest of spinach and turn to wilt. (If using frozen spinach, add now.) Cook, covered, just until evenly wilted and tender (add some water if necessary to keep steam going). Season with salt to taste.

Step 2
2

Drain spinach; return to pot. Stir in béchamel, parmesan, horseradish, and sour cream.

Step 3
3

Heat over low heat until bubbling, then spoon into a serving dish. Top with toasted bread crumbs and bacon.

Ingredients

 2 1/4 pounds bunch spinach (preferably Bloomsdale*), or 1 1/2 lbs. thawed frozen cut-leaf spinach
 3 tablespoons canola oil
 1/2 onion, diced
 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  Kosher salt
 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
 1/2 cup sour cream
  To serve: 1/2 cup each toasted bread crumbs* and
  diced cooked bacon (from about 1/2 lb. bacon strips, frozen 30 minutes so easier to cut)

Directions

Step 1
1

If using regular bunch spinach, rinse and stem leaves, then chop into 2- to 3-in. pieces. Heat oil in a 6- to 8-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook, covered, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, a pinch of salt, and enough spinach to fill pot. Cook, covered, just until wilted; add rest of spinach and turn to wilt. (If using frozen spinach, add now.) Cook, covered, just until evenly wilted and tender (add some water if necessary to keep steam going). Season with salt to taste.

Step 2
2

Drain spinach; return to pot. Stir in béchamel, parmesan, horseradish, and sour cream.

Step 3
3

Heat over low heat until bubbling, then spoon into a serving dish. Top with toasted bread crumbs and bacon.

Creamed Spinach