Is real life like reality TV? Sometimes it is.
The new season of The Amazing Race started on Sunday, and with it came the resumption of our biweekly viewing and dinner parties. I had planned a simple menu—two quiches and this green bean and fennel salad. I had all of my ingredients, and plenty of time to cook. Until I realized that I didn’t have plenty of time anymore, and then realized at a critical juncture that we were completely out of olive oil. “I’m totally in the weeds, here!” I muttered, as Michael hustled off to the store for olive oil and I ratcheted up the pace in the kitchen.
I went from ahead of the game to suddenly behind, with unexpected reversals of fortune in the form of an empty olive oil bottle, then put on a burst of speed and crossed the finish line in good time, sliding the quiches into the oven at just the right time to allow them to bake as everyone gathered and chattered.
There wasn’t a million dollar prize at stake as I cooked, it’s true–just dinner for friends.
The quiches came out puffed and burnished a toasty golden brown, just in time for everyone to fill a plate and settle themselves in front of the TV.
There was a classic Quiche Lorraine, with bacon. And it was good. But my favorite was the second one, the Mushroom and Spinach Quiche, with layers of mellow sautéed onions, finely diced mushrooms, spinach, and gruyere cheese, all bound together by a tender custard of eggs and cream. The flavors melded into a seamless, savory whole. Every warm, satisfying forkful was a pleasure.
The green bean and fennel salad provided a cool, crunchy, tangy counterpoint.
This quiche is not difficult to make–especially if you use a premade crust as I did, of the sort that you just unroll into a pie pan. If you have a good hand with pastry, you can certainly make your own. But do give yourself a good 30 minutes or so for the chopping, steaming, grating, etc before the assembled quiche goes in the oven.
Mushroom and Spinach Quiche
- 1 9-inch pie crust, partially baked (use your preferred recipe or a premade pie crust)
- 1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- 10 oz bag baby spinach (or 1 bunch, cleaned and trimmed)
- ½ lb mushrooms, cleaned and finely diced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prebake the pie shell for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, over medium heat, sauté onions in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Put the mushrooms in the skillet with another glug of olive oil. Sauté over medium high heat until liquid is released and cooked off.
In a saucepan, steam the spinach in a small amount of water until soft, approximately 5 minutes. When sufficiently cooled, squeeze as much water as possible from spinach, then chop coarsely and set aside.
Whisk together eggs and cream, with a dash of salt and pepper.
Spread onions evenly across bottom of pie shell, then layers of spinach, mushrooms, and gruyere cheese. Pour egg and cream mixture over all, and carefully slide into oven on center rack.
Bake 30-40 minutes or until evenly browned and puffed. Knife inserted into center should come out basically clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.