This is a stunning dish that is very easy to make. If you don’t have a ring mold, you can substitute a loaf pan or souffle dish, although the ring mold looks especially elegant. When you purchase spinach, check to see that it is free of yellow spots, which are a sign of old age. If you use loose fresh spinach, be sure to buy a full two pounds, because once you’ve removed the long stems you will be left with closer to 20 ounces.

SERVES 4

2 pounds loose fresh spinach (weight with stems), or two 10-ounce packages fresh spinach, cleaned and stemmed, or two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed

4 large eggs

1 cup heavy or whipping cream

1ВЅ teaspoons minced fresh basil, or ВЅ teaspoon dried basil

ВЅ teaspoon salt

Liberal seasoning freshly ground pepper

SAUCE

Вѕ cup tomato pure

Вѕ cup heavy or whipping cream

Вј teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Вј cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Put the spinach in a large pot with just the water that clings to it. Cover the pot and cook, over low heat, just until it wilts. Drain in a colander and let cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out all of the water from the spinach with your hands. Mince it on a cutting board and set aside. (If you are using frozen chopped spinach then, when thawed, squeeze out all of its moisture with your hands. Set aside.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 375В°F. Beat the eggs very well in a large bowl and stir in the cream, basil, salt, pepper, and spinach. May be prepared to this point up to 8 hours in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before proceeding with the next step.
  3. Generously butter a 1ВЅ-quart ring mold (or loaf pan or souffle dish), and fill with the spinach custard. Place this dish in a larger baking dish. Pour enough hot water into the larger dish to reach halfway up the sides of the mold. (This must be done to ensure gentle cooking.)
  4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes before unmolding.
  5. While the ring mold is resting, turn the oven up to 450В°F. Combine the tomato pure, cream, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
  6. Run a knife around the mold and carefully unmold it onto a quiche dish (not a quiche pan with a removable bottom), or any other attractive shallow baking dish. Pour the tomato cream sauce evenly over it, and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown.