Monday, September 26, 2005
Spinach & Gruyere Quiche
I found a recipe on Epicurious for Easy Pie crust, which I made a few hours ahead of time. With the food processor, it was easy: I blended together 1 1/3 cups flour, 6 tablespoons butter, cut up, 2 Tblsp. shortening, a teaspoon of sugar and a half teaspoon of salt. When it formed crumbs, I added three tablespoons of ice water through the feeder until it all clumped together. I then dumped it on a large piece of plastic wrap, flattened it into a disk, and refrigerated it for an hour. It took less than ten minutes to do this.
The trick was rolling it out, and it was a bit unwieldy. I took the dough out first and let it soften for about ten minutes, then rolled it out on a floured surface until it was big enough to fit in a pie dish that I'd coated with cooking spray. I fitted it in, then folded the edges over, pre-baking it for 7 minutes in a 375 degree oven. This is necessary because otherwise the crust might become soggy under the weight of wet ingredients. I tried weighting the empty crust down with a piece of tin foil coated with cooking spray and some rice, then had the mishap of the rice getting stuck in the dough when I tried to remove the foil.
It came out alright, though. You could skip all that and just buy a frozen crust instead.
As for the quiche itself, after reading many, many recipes for quiche, I began to realize that quiche is infinitely variable and that you can substitute at will for whatever ingredients you might want for a weeknight meal. Again following a couple recipes, one from epicurious, I decided upon the following ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1 10 ounce bag fresh spinach
1/2 cup grated gruyere
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
4 eggs (or 2 eggs and 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/2 cup lowfat ricotta (could also use cottage cheese)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet, saute the onions until translucent. Then add the spinach little by little, until it cooks down and all its water evaporates. Remove from heat and cool slightly, adding spices-- salt, pepper and nutmeg. In a food processor, mix together eggs and ricotta. Add to cooled spinach mixture and mix in cheese. Pour into prepared pie crust, bake 45-50 minutes until set. It will be slightly moist in the middle, but resist the temptation to overcook.
The quiche was really delicious and smelled amazing while in the oven. I think I could accomplish it with a more beautiful crust next time, and I might try some feta for a little more bite, or some artichoke hearts. Or you could make it into a Tex-Mex-style quiche, adding cheeses like cheddar and monterey jack and canned chili peppers. Either way, I don't think it's possible to go wrong.