Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spinach & Pine Nut Quiche

I was called upon to fulfill my civic duty of serving jury duty today, and because I'm a good citizen (and because it's kind of obligatory) I dragged myself out of bed, hopped on the subway, and arrived to the courthouse only sit in a room full of 136 other people for 8 long hours. I clearly played a crucial role in the justice system today.

When I wasn't nodding off in my chair, avoiding the extremely sweaty guy, or getting dressed down by the courthouse security guards for accidentally putting my bagged lunch on the security x-ray conveyor belt despite the posted sign (it was early; I was tired) I got in some good reading, which led to an interesting conversation about Alice Waters with my neighbor, who was also a fellow reader and food appreciator. 

None of this, however, has anything to do with the quiche that I want to tell you about. (How's that for a segue?)

The quiche came about when I was given a bottle of what I was told was an excellent Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. Like any normal person who is given a bottle of wine, I immediately thought "dinner party!" (right? That's what you'd think, too?) and invited some friends over who I knew would appreciate this impromptu get-together. 

So I had the wine, but no idea what to make to go with it. I opened my highly organized binder (ha!) of recipes torn from various magazines and newspapers over the years hoping to find inspiration. I didn't. I found it in my highly organized massive stack of recipes torn from magazines and newspapers that was sitting on top of my new tart pan.

I am not an expert on pairing foods with wine, so if you are, and you're reading this and cringing, I'm sorry. But it turned out well. So well, that I made this quiche twice more that next week for dinner.

Spinach & Pine Nut Quiche
Adapted from the Whole Foods Market Cookbook via the L.A. Times

I wish I could say that I made a wonderful homemade crust, but I have a freezer full of pie crusts left over from some random buying spree when I was making a lot of pies. I promise you a good pie crust in the future.

1 frozen 9-inch ready made pie crust, regular or whole wheat
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
6 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed & dried
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried sage or 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 large red potato, steamed until firm-tender, sliced in 1/4-inch thick slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Remove pie crust from freezer and thaw for 10 minutes. Prick the bottom with a fork and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the crust from the oven to cool.

Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the garlic, spinach, salt, pepper, and sage. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, or until the spinach is just wilted. Stir in the pine nuts.

In a small bowl, mix the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. In another bowl, whisk the milk and eggs together.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture on the pie crust. Top with half the spinach mixture. Place the potato slices on top of the spinach. Add half of the remaining cheese, and then top with the remaining spinach mixture. Top with the rest of the cheese.

Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet. Carefully pour in the milk mixture. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.

Leftover Ingredient Alert!
If you just made the Roasted Beet Salad, you should have leftover pine nuts to use in this quiche!

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