This is the second in a series of the gratins from Trader Joe’s that are out this holiday season for 2011.
Next up is the Butternut Squash and Creamed Spinach Gratin in the fridge section at Trader Joe’s. Gratin is a word I don’t use much. I know what it is basically, and I know it’s French in origin. So, I looked it up on wikipedia!
Gratin is a widespread culinary technique in food preparation in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish. A gratin dish refers to the shallow oven-proof container traditionally used to prepare gratins and similar dishes.
Exactly what I thought! I had never seen a gratin made out of squash before, but since squash has a similar consistency as potatoes, why not! I was looking forward to this one more than the cauliflower one because I really like butternut squash and we eat a lot of squash in this house. Same as before, I baked it in the little black plastic dish that it came in (thanks for making these things oven proof!).
When it came out of the oven, I could already smell the melange of squash, spinach and cheeses all baked together. It looks almost exactly like the picture on the package (except it doesn’t come in a nice green ceramic dish!). It was nice and browned on the top and it was a bubbly, oozy delicious looking gratin. We let it cool down for a few minutes and then dug into it with our serving spoon. You could the layers of spinach between the squash and the nice thick layer of cheese on top.
First thing in my mouth was that it was sweet! I looked back ingredients to see if there was any sugar added and it’s a pretty simple list. Squash, Milk, Cream, Spinach, Parmesan Cheese, Onion Butter, Garlic, Sea Salt, Corn Starch, Black Pepper, Nutmeg and Thyme! What could be simpler! There are supposed to be four servings per container, but I would say it is more like 2 and could be a whole meal for someone, especially a vegetarian.
Anyway, back to tasting. I really liked the cheese on top. The spinach was cooked just right, but the squash came off as too sweet for my palate. Some people may like the sweetness of the squash. It was pretty straight forward and delicious!
I am going to rate this 8 Bells!