Making spinach gratin for a crowd-fresh or frozen?
I will be making a large spinach gratin for around 25 people. The recipe calls for frozen spinach, but I know I can substitute fresh as well. My question is, which will taste better? Or will they pretty much taste the same?
I always assume fresh=better than processed foods, but I know in some cases, this is not always true. Is there a noticeable difference between the two, or can I get away with frozen? This is going to be feeding a group of gastronomy students, so I don't want to offend them, but I also don't want to have to buy 10 pounds of spinach to cook either!
If I do use fresh, do I have to boil the spinach, or can I saute it instead? If I saute it, should I still try to wring the water out?
So many questions, I know, but I really want to make this a kick ass dish. Thanks for your help!
For cooking, I have used both, and really don't think there is that much of a difference...If you have a Whole Foods, buy their organic frozen spinach...seriously taste exactly the same as if you had used fresh...And yes, you ALWAYS have to wring the water out, whether fresh or frozen ( a pain), and you could saute the fresh....
Although I like the *idea* of the WF organic spinach, I've had terrible luck with it-- often lots of woody bits and brown non-leavy extraneous stuff. I'm sure not all bags of it suffer from that problem, but, as I say, it's just been bad luck, and after 3 out of 4 had that problem, I gave up.
I'm loving the TJ's whole leaf frozen spinach lately, though-- great quick way to get ohitashi into the lunchbox without having to clean and cook spinach! not as great as a nice fresh one, perhaps, but for the sake of getting some greenery into a weekday lunch, I'm willing to settle :) (And some of us live in parts of the country where local farm fresh spinach is available for, oh, about 2 weeks out of the year!)
I don't notice a lot of difference in bagged grocery store spinach (which has travelled coast to coast) and frozen, but when I get local fresh spinach from the farm, there is NO comparison. It tastes so light and fluffy, like you added egg whites to the recipe. I just get a big stock pot and steam it a bit over a screen, it's not much work at all. Well except for the cleaning, you have to keep dunking it in water to get the grit out,don't skip that step!!
I almost alway use fresh spinach, but I am cooking for only two. For 25 I would recommend frozen just because spinach cooks down soo much and you would have to buy a ton of fresh to feed that many. Fresh tastes slightly better, but if it were me in your position I think practicality would win out.
I love the frozen from Trader Joe's If you find the need, add fresh to the frozen. I used to make a creamed spinach with a package of Knorr Hollandaise, OMG the bomb! Calls for a cube of butter. Now I saute frozen all the time using EVOO and garlic. YUMMO!