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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Diane said...

Looks good, but I would call this a frittata, not a quiche. Quiche does have a crust, and is also always made with a custard base that sets up light and creamy (i.e. base of eggs and a fair bit of milk). Both are good, but I make frittatas far more often than quiches as they are easier to deal with.

I probably make a frittata about once every week or two, mostly to use up whatever veg is around and in season. You can even use leftover pasta to make a frittata. They are good with just about anything.

Becca said...

How do you feel about reheating eggs? I literally NEVER get to eat at home because I go straight from school to work every day, so I make weekly meals ahead of time. Do you think this would work as a reheated (or cold) meal a few days after? Is reheating (or leaving for a few days) eggs a really bad idea?

Kris said...

@Diane: The consistency is somewhere in the middle. I used much more cheese in this than I would a normal frittata, which lent to a custard-like texture. Admittedly, the crust is a sticking point, but for our purposes, I'm willing to fudge it a bit.

@Becca: We stored these in the fridge and had them again for breakfast yesterday. They seemed okay to me, and if anything, the flavor developed a little more. I might not store them too much longer than that, though. Good luck!

janalynch said...

i'm so glad you posted this! i made my first quiche yesterday and my husband and i both loved it. i plan on making more and this recipe looks like a good second attempt for me!

Diane said...

@Becca: I love cold frittata/quiche as a sandwich filling, or on its own for breakfast. Not everyone likes eggs cold, but I do and find they save well. I typically make a frittata and eat it over 2-3 days.

Chez Us said...

Your quiche sounds amazing and looks very tasty. I like the combination of spinach of mushrooms - a classic! I love making crustless quiches as it makes me feel better about eating all the eggs an cheese! I just made a zucchini blossom one that was delicious as well.


I like making crustless quiche to save calories.

I usually use ricotta cheese when I make the mushroom and spinach quiche and I don't like using egg-whites; I use egg yolks for a richer texture and taste (I'm not afraid of cholesterol).

I also mix spinach with kale or swiss chard for a nice change, and then I sprinkle freshly made bacon bits over the top.

Of course I'm adding calories which is why I leave out the crust to help out a 'wee bit'.....

Anonymous said...

Today i made this quiche, for the first time, for some mexican friends. And EVERYBODY loved it!!!!! The only thing that i changed was the cheese... i used only feta cheese. It works perfectly with the spinach. :)
And i also baked some whole wheat blueberry muffins
and everybody left happy!

I would definitely make this again, but always with feta! ;)


Benjamin said...

(The first person that asks, “Isn’t it technically a frittata?” gets a punch in la tete.)

@Diane, surely you jest.

Anyway, this worked well for me. My take: used five whole eggs; less cheese; tomatoes instead of spinach. And, re: not being a stand alone dish, soup is a good sidekick - I went with creamy carrot.

Thanks for a great post and recipe!

Anonymous said...

Absolutly loved it! I had some asperagus that had to be used up and used fresh spinich instead. Also fresh eggs from my chicks. This recipe is a great one for guests or for one.