Last weekend I was in Chennai for a wedding and even though it was a short trip I was asked almost the same things by people I met: ‘Why aren’t you updating Pinch of Salt regularly?’, ‘Can you also please post some recipes that you make on a daily basis, I’d like some ideas for weekday meals?’ and yes, this one was a killer – ‘You know, I look at your blog all the time and my husband is pleased I’m busy in the kitchen. Can you post more of those healthy recipes because it has brought such a positive change in our lifestyle’! Whoa! I don’t know whether it was the earnestness behind this request or all the Champagne that I’d consumed by then, but I was giddy with happiness. So much love for a space that occupies a tiny place on the WWW! Amazing. That’s when I realised, it isn’t really about the labouring-in-the-kitchen-all-day dishes or even the ones that seem qualified for Masterchef, really it is about the dishes that your happy making and the others are happy eating, complicated or not.
This corn and spinach dish is something that I’ve been making for as long as I can remember. It is one of the first savoury baked dishes I learnt to make and over the years I’ve been improvising along the way. You can add almost any other vegetable or meat that you like to this and it will still taste great. Just be patient with the white sauce and you will sail through!
Baked Corn & Spinach
3/4 cup of sweet corn kernels, blanched & drained
1 1/2 cups of spinach leaves, cleaned, roughly chopped & blanched
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of whole wheat flour
1 tsp of olive oil
2 1/2 cups of skim milk
1/2 tsp of dried rosemary
1/2 tsp of black pepper powder
Salt to taste
1/2 cup of cheese, grated – I used a mix of Mozzarella, Smoked Cheese & Parmesan
Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic to it, when this begins to change colour and turn golden brown add the flour to this. Gently roast it till it gives out a nutty aroma. When this becomes a light brown, slowly add the milk to it and keep stirring continuously to avoid any lumps being formed. You can adjust the quantity of milk according to the thickness of the sauce. Season the white sauce with salt and some pepper.
Bring the sauce to a gently simmer and add the sweet corn and spinach to it. The mixture will continue to thicken so keep an eye on it. After a minute add the rosemary and check the seasoning again.
Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over it. Bake for 20 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius. Remove from the oven when the cheese has melted and browned. Serve hot with fresh bread or garlic toast. We had this with some Zucchini Bread.
* To stir the white sauce, use a balloon whisk this make it easier for you to stir for a longer period of time and this is also effective in eliminating the lumps.
* Don’t throw away the water in which you’ve cooked the spinach and corn, if you feel the sauce is getting too dry then add this liquid. This will help to adjust the consistency and also add flavour to the dish.
* I’ve used rosemary simply because I love its robust flavour but you can use Oregano or even Thyme, if you like.
|Just out of the oven|
|A couple of minutes later!|
I’m sending this dish to Let’s Cook with Cheese at Simply Food