This Retro 3-Ingredient Dish Was My Grandma’s Dinner Party Specialty

It’s simple, but a stand-out.



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Getty Images / George Marks

If there’s one thing I remember about being at my grandma’s house, it’s that she was always entertaining. Whether it was a graduation party, shower, or holiday gathering, she always found a reason to host a crowd. And, what allowed her to pull a party together so easily (and so often) is that she stuck to a simple, sophisticated menu.

My grandma, Omi, had her go-to dishes that didn’t take much time or effort to throw together on the party day, and she made them on repeat. There was always a 5-minute shrimp dip to start and a shortcut Kahlua cake to finish. And, in between, a three-ingredient side she was small-town famous for: brandied spinach.

This spinach dish wasn’t just easy, it was a total crowd-pleaser. It was rich, silky, and decadent without having any cream at all. Plus, the brandy complemented the flavor of the salty spinach perfectly. Everybody loved this spinach, and that says a lot. After all, how often is the veggie dish the most popular item at the dinner party?

So, the next time you’re struggling with what to make for your dinner guests, serve up this retro spinach side and host like my grandma did—stress-free, fabulously.

How To Make 3-Ingredient Brandied Spinach



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As my mother confirmed, this dish is very easy to make. “Every single time I’ve made it, it’s been fabulous,” she said. “I think that’s why she always served it—because you can’t screw it up.”

You want to start with frozen whole spinach—not fresh—and here’s why. Fresh spinach holds a ton of water inside every leaf, which is why you can cook a whole bag of spinach down to a tiny little pile in your saucepan. When you start with frozen, then ring it out until bone dry, it’s completely void of moisture and ready to soak up the rich butter flavor.

Start by ringing out three (12-ounce) packages of thawed spinach by hand (it’ll stick too much to a cloth or paper towel) until the greens are as dry as possible. Then, heat a half pound of butter (salted or unsalted) in the saucepan. You don’t want to brown it, but you want to get it really hot. Finally, add in all the spinach. After squeezing it dry, the spinach will probably be all clumped up in the pan, so work quickly to break it up and make sure every bit is coated in the hot butter.

Finally, sprinkle a bit of brandy over the top, as well as salt and pepper to taste. You won’t cook off the alcohol in this dish, but you use so little, it only adds a hint of flavor.

“It’s not like you’re drowning in it—it’s just 2 tablespoons,” said my mother. “But, it’s really, really good. You have to add the brandy.”



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