>Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

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That’s the name of a documentary filmed by Les Blank in 1980. Herzog claimed he would eat his shoe if Erroll Morris ever finished Gates of Heaven. Alice Waters helped cook the shoe, boiling it in stock with garlic and herbs for five hours at Chez Panisse.

Werner Herzog turns 68 today. While I don’t have the recipe for boiled shoe, here’s Les Blank’s favorite garlic recipe, Dottie’s Spinach. This gloriously decadent recipe was published in Ruth Reichl’s memoir, Comfort Me with Apples.

2 lbs. fresh spinach, course stems removed
½ c. unsalted butter
2 chopped onions
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
½ t. cayenne pepper
12 oz. cheddar cheese
2 c. fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Wash the spinach well and drain it in a colander. Put half of the spinach, with water clinging to its leaves, in a heavy 6- to 8- quart pot and cook over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add the remaining spinach and continue to cook over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until wilted but still bright green, about 1 minute more. Drain the spinach in a colander. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze it dry in small handfuls and chop finely.

Melt the butter in a large, deep, heavy skillet over moderate heat until the foam subsides. Cook the onion in the butter, with salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened. Add the spinach and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the cheese and cook over moderately low heat, stirring until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are combined well. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and spread in a well-buttered heavy 1 ½- to 2-quart shallow baking dish. Spring the top evenly with bread crumbs and bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown on top and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 6 as a side dish

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