What’s the secret to bringing out the flavor of spinach? In a word: nutmeg. But make sure to start with whole nutmeg and grate it as needed; ground nutmeg just doesn’t have the same potency.
This recipe has been adapted from the 2011 Gourmet Live Holiday Special Edition.
Note: Creamed spinach can be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over medium-low heat, thinning with additional milk or water if desired.
Cook the spinach in 2 batches in 1 inch of well-salted boiling water in an 8-quart pot, stirring constantly, until wilted and tender, 1-2 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water until cool. Squeeze small handfuls of spinach to remove as much moisture as possible, then coarsely chop.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until warm. Meanwhile, cook the onion in the butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook the roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add the warmed milk in a fast stream, whisking to prevent lumps, then simmer, whisking, 3-4 minutes (mixture will be thick). Stir in the nutmeg, spinach, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, or to taste. Cook, stirring, until hot.