This is the time of year when warming days signal cravings for freshly grown vegetables, but cool nights still call for comfort food. This recipe combines cool crop spinach and fresh haddock with a piping hot and creamy sauce. The perfect Spring marriage!
12 oz fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 (2 1/4-pound) haddock fillet (1 1/2 inches thick), pin bones removed. If you prefer, cod or hake would also work wonderfully in this dish.
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400°. In a frying pan on medium heat, cook spinach until just wilted. Remove from heat and let stand until cool enough to handle. Drain spinach in colander; squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Transfer spinach to a cutting board, and roughly chop.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot; cook 2 minutes until shallot is translucent. Add cream and bring to a boil. Stir in spinach, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, ground cayenne pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened.
Season cod with remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and place in a lightly buttered 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Spread spinach mixture over fish to cover. Combine breadcrumbs and cheese until well blended; sprinkle over top of the dish.
Bake at 400° for 28 to 30 minutes, or until fish is just opaque in thickest part. Cut into portions and serve immediately.
- Rebecca Sears