Chef Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis has a version of this incredibly decadent creamed spinach on his menu. Just how much do Minnesotans love cheese curds? The restaurant sold 8,459 orders of the dish in its first 10 months.
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1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil, plus more for frying
4 medium shallots, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
Four 10-ounce bags curly spinach, stems discarded
2 cups crème fraîche
2 cups panko
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 pound cheddar cheese curds
How to Make It
Set a rack over a large rimmed baking sheet. In a large pot, heat the 1/2 cup of oil until shimmering. Add the shallots, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the spinach in large handfuls, letting each batch wilt slightly before adding more. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the spinach is wilted, 7 minutes. Spread the spinach on the rack to drain and cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Squeeze the spinach dry and return to the pot. Stir in the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to individual 6-ounce gratin dishes or a 2-quart baking dish. Bake the spinach until bubbling, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil to 350°. Spread the panko and flour in 2 separate shallow bowls. In another shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Dredge the cheese curds in the flour, tapping off any excess. Coat the curds in the beaten egg, then dredge in the panko, pressing lightly on the curds to help the crumbs adhere.
Working in 2 batches, fry the cheese curds until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried curds to paper towels to drain. Top the spinach with the fried cheese curds and serve.
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