Spinach Quiche with Buckwheat Crust

Spinach Quiche with Buckwheat Crust From The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook
Serves 4 as a hearty meal, 6 to 8 in combination with other dishes
3 large eggs 1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature 3/4 cup buckwheat groats, also called kasha (see page 352)  6 ounces fresh spinach, chopped (about 4 cups) 6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
I used to consider quiche a time-consuming dish, reserved for special occasions because of the need to prepare a pastry crust. The crust in this recipe takes about one minute to make! A healthy layer of raw buckwheat groats cooks along with the filling, which contains enough moisture to make the groats soften and swell while they retain a pleasant crunch. Pop the quiche in the oven and while it is cooking you have time to make a salad and a fruit dish for dessert.
I make quiche fillings with a ratio of 1 egg to 1/2 cup of cream. The flavor and texture when the filling is made with cream are so much better than with milk, cottage cheese, or other substitutes that a few extra calories are worth it, especially since the lighter crust more than compensates. To make a larger quiche, you can move up to a 10-inch pie plate and use 4 eggs, adjusting other ingredients proportionately. To serve two people, use a 7-inch dish and 2 eggs. These quiches are a quick solution when I foresee a motley crowd swarming in for lunch. I might make two or three different ones, with one, like this, a vegetarian option.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 2. Combine the eggs, cream, nutmeg, thyme, and pepper in a bowl, and set the bowl aside. It is best, but not essential, that the mixture reach room temperature. 3. Using your fingers, smear 1 tablespoon of the butter over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate or round baking dish—preferably ovenproof glass or ceramic, not metal. Pour the buckwheat groats into the pie plate, and turn it while holding it at a tilt to coat the sides and bottom with the groats. Then hold the pie plate flat and shake it to distribute the remaining loose groats over the bottom.  4. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-low heat. Add the spinach and sauté, stirring, until it has wilted, about 5 minutes.  5. Gently distribute the spinach over the bottom of the pie plate without disturbing the buckwheat. Sprinkle half of the grated cheese over the spinach. 6. Beat the egg mixture thoroughly with a whisk or eggbeater until it is uniform but not foamy. Carefully pour the mixture into the pie plate, and top it with the rest of the cheese. 7. Bake until the center is firm and the top is rounded and golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. The quiche is done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cooked quiche sit for 5 minutes or so. It will sink slightly as it cools. 8. Cut the quiche into wedges and serve while it is still warm.
Try this too . . .
Over the years I have varied this recipe in endless ways. Selecting whatever vegetables are in season is a good way to begin, but I don’t recommend watery ones such as zucchini and tomatoes that will dilute the filling. Broccoli, Swiss chard, and leeks are good choices, and a bit of ham or cooked bacon is a welcome addition. In winter, when tiny Maine shrimp are in season, we might add a small handful of those, sautéed briefly in butter.
 

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