Last week I posted some photographs on my Facebook page showing a couple of quiche I had made. A big part of my social media presence revolves around cooking amongst other activities. I captioned the picture and it went like this:
“Classic homemade Spinach Quiche: One of the first recipes I ever made as a “newly-wed” in the 70s. I have made it since then with great success and, frankly, yesterday’s outcome was one of the best – it's been made for 43 years now. (About time eh?) It was based on Margo Oliver’s “Menu Cookbook” recipe which was featured in The Montreal Star’s Weekend Magazine way back then. Never fails, vegetarian and healthy! I made two. Accompanied by a very ‘nice for the price’, Pinot Grigio, Bolla! plus a salad. Life is good to us.”
Well, who knew? I think every single one of my FB friends wrote on my page in response to my post requesting the recipe. Seriously, almost all of my small but well-loved following chimed in. That was a surprise! Sort of like it was the ‘Social Media Meal of the Month’ or something.
Either that, or everyone’s desperate for new menu ideas after cooking day in, day out, for the past six months!
My Friends Must Be Hungry!
Well, I haven’t had the time to write out the recipe this week and yesterday my FB page saw me bombarded by requests for the recipe, yet again. So I figured I’d better write it out and post it or lose my newfound following!
The problem is I generally wing it when I cook nowadays – rarely do I follow a “per se recipe” anymore, so this is a challenge. To provide the recipe means to actually think about what the steps are and the ingredients, never mind estimate the quantities!
I’ve never actually written the darn recipe down and the cookbook is long lost in some move or other. Lucky for me, I’ve made it so often over the years that I have it pseudo-memorized and I’ve also added my own touches to the original recipe.
Spinach quiche is a meal I throw together when I have no idea what to make for dinner, or I’m simply too tired and there’s virtually nothing in the fridge. Anyway, the real credit goes to iconic Canadian cook Margo Oliver, for creating a classic quiche recipe which I’ve found, over the years, to be easily adaptable to what’s in the pantry.
Anyway, Let’s Get Cooking!
First of all, you can either make your own pie crusts from scratch or use as I do now, frozen pie shells. It’s a matter of convenience – which rules my kitchen these days.
I always set out all the ingredients and equipment before I begin the cooking process. And I pre-measure stuff to make for a smoother process. So, firstly get the frozen pie shells out of the freezer and thaw them ahead of time. Otherwise, make your pie shells before you do anything else.
We’re making two quiche that include the following ingredients:
- Pie shells. 2 thawed deep dish shells or two uncooked homemade.
- Spinach. One large container of fresh, pre-washed baby spinach. Don’t skimp. It cooks down to nothing, so the more the merrier.
- 6 large eggs. I like to use free range.
- 3 cups pre-grated cheddar, Swiss or a combo of Italian cheeses. I used to grate it all myself, but heck, we’re talking convenience here. Saputo’s a good choice.
- Cream. Full fat, 10% or non-fat, whatever you like. You only need a splash – a ¼ cup at most.
- Cottage cheese. 500 grams (one tub), again, full fat, non-fat, 1 or 2%. Your choice. Personally I like 1%.
- Butter. Olive oil. For sautéing the shallots.
- Shallots/onions. I love using French shallots if available. They’re far more flavourful but in a pinch use Vidalia or yellow onions. Don’t use red onions. How much? Well, I suppose about one and a half cups of finely sliced shallots or a large sized Vidalia diced. Figure on ¾ cup per quiche. They cook down.
- Garlic. One big clove. (1½ tsp. minced) – I prefer locally grown Quebec garlic or at least Canadian grown.
- Nutmeg. ¼ tsp. freshly grated or already ground. It’s subtle but essential.
- Basil. 1 tsp. dried or 1½ tbsp. fresh, or a squirt of what I call ‘basil squeezie’ that comes in a tube – convenience at work again!
- 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper, ½ tsp. Harissa sauce (optional) or ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes. Adds some zing.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Steam the spinach in a little water for approximately two minutes and drain in a colander, pressing as much water out of it as you can using the back of a large spoon. Then cut the blob of spinach up using kitchen scissors. Let cool.
- In a skillet, gently sauté the shallots or onions in some butter/olive oil until tender/translucent, but not browned. Add the garlic and toss it around. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the six eggs until light and lemony coloured. Add the cream, cottage cheese, basil, nutmeg, Harissa (or red pepper flakes), salt and pepper. Whisk all together. Mix in the cooled spinach and shallots/garlic.
- Put 1 cup of grated cheese into each pie shell and bake them for about five minutes or until the cheese is lightly melted in the bottom of each shell. Remove from oven.
- Divide the egg/spinach mixture between the two pie shells. Top each with the rest of the grated cheese. Note: I always place each unbaked quiche on a separate cookie tray in the oven lest they overflow while cooking – which they’ve a tendency to do.
- Return the filled pie shells to the oven and continue to bake at 350º for approximately 45 minutes to one hour or until the egg mixture is firm. If you insert a sharp knife it should come out clean.
- Serve hot with a leafy salad or some fresh seasonal veggies.
Bank the Second One
I always freeze the second one once it’s completely cooled. Just place it in a large sized Zip-Lock freezer bag, stick it in your freezer and wait until that evening when you’re tired or haven’t shopped and you say to yourself, “Gee, what’s for dinner tonight?”
We hope you’ll enjoy this recipe and share some of your own in the comments on Facebook! Thanks for reading.