Crustless spinach + cheddar quiche.

[Leaf Parade. Crustless spinach + cheddar quiche.]

The very first time that I decided to bake a quiche, my ingredient and methodology requirements were very different from what they are today. What do I mean? I was looking to make myself a dinner that was a) vegetarian, b) on-the-cheap, c) composed of ingredients that I could readily identify and locate in a Swedish grocery store.

Please remember back to a couple of weeks ago to when I told you about my first experiences shopping at my local Uppsala grocery story. Many a confused afternoon I spent lost in those aisles, wondering where they had hidden the peanut butters, considering the merits of buying my yogurt in a large bucket (complete with a handle), and hugely underestimating the difference between mjölk and filmjölk.

[Leaf Parade. Crustless spinach + cheddar quiche.]

From my Swedish flat, thousands of miles from home, I recalled my mother standing at the kitchen counter in the house in which I grew up. She would pour over the thickly-stacked pages of The Joy of Cooking — that holy tome that housed the quiche recipe that she had so often drawn out for a simple weeknight meal, the recipe she still uses today. Three eggs, two cups of milk, a half-cup of cheese, and the fixings.

Of course, I know the ratio now, but back then, I had no idea, and so I went searching online for a recipe, finding one that called for cottage cheese in place a milk. Since having learned more about traditional quiche-making, I now know that the use of cottage cheese is unusual, but it hadn’t occurred to me as such at the time. I loved cottage cheese, and I knew exactly where they kept it at the store, and so I decided to give it a go. (And, in case you’re skeptical, the cottage cheese makes for absolute quiche perfection. Trust me — even if you don’t like the stuff.)

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

I put on my shoes, headed down the street, and rounded up the needed ingredients outlined in my recipe. I decided on a spinach and red onion variation and picked up an accompanying block of cheddar cheese, as that was what my mother had always used. Without having been able to find a ready-made pie crust (and without having the patience to put one together myself), I decided that the quiche would be crustless.

Six years later, this quiche, exactly how I made it that day, is still one of my very favorite things to cook. I like to cook it not because its method is fun or interesting, or even because the ingredients are particularly exciting. It isn’t; they’re not. There is no fanfare here. This quiche is not a souffle, it’s not a risotto — there is nothing whimsical or surprising about it.  It’s just good. Simple and good — always good.

[Leaf Parade. Crustless spinach + cheddar quiche.]

I’ve tried many variations — adding turkey sausage, subbing goat cheese, whisking in fresh herbs. Hell,  I’ve even put a crust on the thing once or twice. But like all things that emerge from small and quiet moments of self-teaching, it is at its very best this way — simple, easy, and un-fooled-around-with.

This quiche is where east meets west. While it is very much a looking back on and a nod to my mother, it also represents the prerogative of a 21-year-old new cook finding her “sea legs,” so to speak — her own tastes, her own preferences, her own culinary constitution.

[Leaf Parade. Crustless spinach + cheddar quiche.]

This weekend, my mother and I put together a couple of quiches for an Easter Sunday brunch, and this old friend of mine was on the menu as usual. Served up with a pile of crispy, salty, onion-studded home fries, this fluffy pie was the perfect sunny morning springtime meal.

—–

Crustless spinach + cheddar quiche.

For 4-6

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil or butter, to brush the plate
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 16 ounces low-fat cottage cheese
  • 9 ounces fresh spinach, sauteed, cooled completely, and drained very well
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the inside of a pie plate with olive oil or butter.
  2. Combine eggs, cottage cheese, spinach, onion, salt, and all but a few tablespoons of the cheese. Pour into the pie plate, and bake for about 45 minutes.
  3. Take the quiche from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Return it to the oven and bake until melty and crispy, approximately another 10-15 minutes.

 

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