The Search for Spinach
After last Saturday’s chard-infused recipe, I was inspired to find a use for spinach, another of my favorite dark green, fall crops for this week’s breakfast excavation. Unfortunately, though, I failed to plant a second crop of spinach in time before the winter frosts began whispering across our lawn. So, I was forced to look elsewhere for my main ingredient!
Now, what the spinach industry doesn’t want you to know, is that even when refrigerated, spinach only holds its nutritional value for a single week (cooked, frozen spinach, if processed in time sidesteps this timeframe). With modern demand and subsequent shipping requirements, this means that the sparkling green spinach leaves that greet you at your local supermarket are already well on their way to being nutritionally neutral: certainly not bad for you, but not all that great for you either! This dilemma highlights one of the reasons I find local, seasonal eating to be so very important: finding fresh produce from farms near you can guarantee the best nutrition for you and your family. But, like many people I know and talk to, I didn’t know where to find a local market, store, or stand that would have fresh greens for me to use.
However, I did come across a website that can help those of us in the US find the closest, freshest produce that’s been harvested seasonally: localharvest.org. Using this resource, I was able to locate a farm store that, thankfully, had all of the spinach I needed for this week’s quiche (and, I got to meet a few cows along the way)!
With the ingredients finally sorted, on to our recipe! In the interest of full disclosure, this quiche is missing a few key components (a crust and smoked bacon) to truly be considered a “quiche lorraine,” the French matriarch of modern quiches dating back to 1588. But, I think our interpretation is perfectly acceptable, especially because the origins of quiche (originally “kuchen”) are actually German, not French!
Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
- 2 lbs fresh spinach (or a 10 ounce box of frozen, cooked spinach, thawed)
- 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms
- 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 3/4 cups mozzarella
- salt and pepper
If you’re using frozen, cooked spinach, skip to step four!
- Remove stems from spinach leaves and cut/tear into small pieces. Wash leaves to remove any dirt or debris and pat dry.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic to oil and cook for one minute.
- Add washed spinach to the pan and toss to coat in oil and garlic. Cover the pan and cook for one minute. Uncover and stir the spinach. Replace the lid on your pan and cook for one more minute. After approximately two minutes of covered cooking, your spinach should be fully wilted.
- Transfer cooked spinach (either fresh or frozen) to a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C.
- Rinse the dirt off of your mushrooms and slice thinly. Place your sliced mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper in the frying pan you used for the spinach. Add the remaining one teaspoon of oil to the pan and mix all ingredients until coated evenly.
- Saute the mushrooms on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until there is no water left at the bottom of the pan. When your mushrooms have finished cooking, add them to the mixing bowl with the cooked spinach.
- Stir 1/4 cup of feta cheese into the mushroom and spinach mixture until well distributed.
- Grease a pie plate with olive oil and spread the mushroom, spinach, and feta evenly across the bottom of the dish.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the four eggs, milk, and grated parmesan cheese together until smooth. Pour this mixture over the spinach and mushrooms and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of the raw quiche.
- Cook quiche in preheated oven for 50 minutes – 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown.
- Enjoy your homemade, seasonal quiche hot or cold for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
As always, thanks for stopping by the dig site! Be sure to stop by this Saturday for a fireside recipe that can warm even the chilliest soul!