Monday, April 19, 2010

Crustless Spinach Mushroom Quiche: Une Recipe Pour le Peuple

Today on Serious Eats: a one-two punch of Stir-Fried Lettuce (fuh real) and Sauteed Cabbage. Both much tastier than you might think.

Also: you asked, we’re answering. Starting today on Cheap Healthy Good, we’re including protein in our calculations. Enjoy!

When you imagine a prototypical quiche eater, what does the person look like? Is it:
  1. A beret-donning, baguette-loving Frenchman, alternating sips of expensive Sauvignon Blanc with nibbles of the delicate egg creation.
  2. A slim, sleek, Parisian fashion editor, who chews diminutive forkfuls between her morning cigarettes and coffee.
  3. A mustache-twirling, toque-fluffing, world-class chef, bent on achieving the perfect egg-to-cheese ratio.
  4. A mime.
  5. None of these above, though this obsession with French stereotypes is simultaneously mystifying and sexy.
I always imagined quiche to be the provenance of the upper class. Though consisting mainly of eggs, cheese and crust, it seemed an impossibly complicated dish, served by socialites whose champagne tastes were rivaled only by the fussiness of their breakfasts. And also the French.

The truth, however, is this: Quiche is for the people.

It is not, as I believed, exclusive to Donald Trump types. No indeed. Quiche is a blue-collar, working person’s kind of meal. Hardy and chock full of frommage, it’s a simple breakfast (Or lunch! Or dinner!) that’ll carry you clear through the morning. When you leave the crust part out, it’s even pretty healthy. (The first person that asks, “Isn’t it technically a frittata?” gets a punch in la tete.)

This quiche is adapted from All Recipes, and it combines the sheer health quotient of spinach with the delightful indulgence of sharp cheddar cheese. It’s fairly easy to whip up, and super satisfying to serve: “Honey, we’re having quiche today! Yes, quiche. No, no one is coming over. No, we didn’t win the lottery. Ack. I don’t know. Stop asking questions.”

A few notes, should you decide to take this on yourself:

1) Hand-grated cheese is almost always cheaper and better tasting than pre-grated. There are no annoying de-caking additives, is why. Try to shred your own block o’ cheddar here if you can.

2) If I did this again, I’d change the mushroom/spinach ratio slightly to include more of the former and a little less of the latter. But hey: whatever floats your boat. Ham would be smashing in here, if you’re up for giving it a try.

3) Thanks to Food, Inc. and a combination of other exciting neurosis, Husband-Elect and I permanently switched to Certified Humanely Raised eggs. (Note: It’s one of the only labels that really matters.) They are WAY BETTER than regular supermarket eggs, but also pricier. Whatever. It’s worth it, yo. The yolks are like, neon orange, and much more substantial. Cross over if you can. (Yes … that’s it … come to our side … use the Force, Luke.)

4) This isn’t a standalone dish, and should be served with some kind of side. Mayhaps une salade? Ou un croissant? This might give you some ideas:

In the meantime, enjoy, mes amis. Rappelez-vous: quiche est pour le peuple. (Literally: Rappel your quiche and pour it purple. I think.)

If you like this recipe, you may also delight in:

Crustless Spinach Quiche
Serves 6.
Adapted from All Recipes.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, cooked
2 extra large eggs
5 extra large egg whites
1-1/2 cups 2% cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more if desired)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more if desired)
A few shakes cayenne pepper (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.

2) In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms. Saute 5 or 6 minutes, until onions start to soften and ‘shrooms are a little browned.

3) Add spinach. Spread around and cook until most of the moisture is evaporated, stirring occasionally. This took me about 6 minutes, but your mileage may vary.

4) When finished, pour spinach mixture on to a plate. Spread out and let cool for a few minutes. (You’re doing this so it won’t cook the eggs prematurely when they're combined.)

5) Meanwhile, combine eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Beat lightly. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne if using. Stir. Add spinach mixture and stir quickly to blend. Quickly pour into pie pan and shake a little to spread out.

6) Bake about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
184 calories, 10.3 g fat, 1 g fiber, 15 g protein, $0.91

1 tablespoon olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.15
1 medium onion: 46 calories, 0.1 g fat, 1.5 g fiber, 1 g protein, $0.25
4 ounces mushrooms: 25 calories, 0.3 g fat, 1.1 g fiber, 3.5 g protein, $0.90
1 10-oz pkg frozen spinach: 103 calories, 0 g fat, 3.4 g fiber, 6.8 g protein, $0.50
2 extra large eggs: 171 calories, 11.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, 14.6 g protein, $0.62
5 extra large egg whites: 100 calories, 0.4 g fat, 0 g fiber, 21 g protein, $1.54
1-1/2 cups 2% cheddar cheese: 540 calories, 36 g fat, 0 g fiber, 42 g protein, $1.50
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $0.01
1/4 teaspoon black pepper: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $0.01
TOTAL: 1104 calories, 61.8 g fat, 6 g fiber, 88.9 g protein, $5.48
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 184 calories, 10.3 g fat, 1 g fiber, 15 g protein, $0.91

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