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Eggs are not just for breakfast.  On cool winter evenings, one of my favorite meals is quiche.  Served with a green salad topped with a zesty vinaigrette, it makes a light and tasty dinner.  Or lunch.  It also makes a nice and hearty breakfast, chock full of veggies, protein and dairy.  I’m partial to eating the leftovers for breakfast.

This quiche features spinach, mushrooms, onions and swiss cheese, although the flavors can easily be modified to switch things up.  If you have time to caramelize the onions, rather than simply sauteing them, it’s worth the effort. The cheese can be changed as well: Gruyère, feta or goat cheese are all nice with this flavor combo.  I happened to have Swiss and like the strong flavor that it imparts, but salty crumbled feta is my second favorite.

To start, heat your oven to 375 and grease a quiche, tart or pie pan.  The quiche will do best with a crust which is already partially baked, although it isn’t necessary if you are opposed to blind baking.  Using a par baked shell may help prevent the bottom of the crust from getting too soggy.  *See notes at end for how to blind bake the crust.

Next, it will be time to prepare the fillings for the quiche.  Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan.  When hot, add the onion, which should sizzle. While the onions begin to cook (which will take up to 5 minutes depending on how hot the pan is), collect your eggs.  Two large eggs, and the yolks from two more.   Save the extra egg whites and add them to an omelet or scrambled eggs for breakfast the next day.

When the onions have begun to soften, add the mushrooms, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, and allow to cook until they reach the consistency you desire.  My preference is for mushrooms which still have a fair amount of bite and which maintain roughly their original size, especially since they will continue to cook with the quiche, but if you prefer them softer cook them down further.  When the mushrooms are nearly done, add the sliced spinach and allow it to wilt slightly, which will make it easier to mix it into the pan.**  Remove from heat.

This was about the point where Jazz realized nothing exciting was cooking and began pouting

Meanwhile, add the cream and milk to the eggs.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Mix together until just combined, as over-mixing may result in a quiche with is fluffy as opposed to a thick and creamy.  Set this custard mix to the side.

Now it’s time to build the quiche.  Retrieve your crust (if using a par-baked crust, heat it up just slightly in the oven).  Place a layer of cheese in the bottom of the crust, followed by the veggies, and then another small layer of cheese.  Pour the custard mix over the top.  Move carefully into the oven.  This should bake for roughly 32-35 minutes.  If the crust begins to burn, cover it with foil or a crust cover and continue baking.  Remove from the oven when it is browned and the middle is set (shake it slightly and be sure it doesn’t jiggle).  Allow the quiche to sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing it, to give it time to finish setting up- the filling will sink slightly and residual heat will ensure the quiche is cooked all the way through.

Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Quiche***

2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (2% may be used, but may result in a less creamy filling)
3/4 teaspoon pepper (separated)
3/4 teaspoon salt (separated)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion OR caramelized onions
1 container sliced baby bella mushrooms (use white mushrooms if necessary)
1 1/2 cup sliced fresh spinach** (this will shrink significantly when wilted)
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Grease quiche, tart or pie pan.  Place crust into dish.*

2.  To prep: chop the onion, very roughly chop the spinach, and slice the mushrooms in half if they are particularly large- they should be bite size.  Crack the eggs as well, and leave in the refrigerator until ready.

3.  Heat olive oil in large pan.  Add onions and saute, stirring frequently.  When they begin to soften, add the mushrooms, and half of the salt and pepper.  Cook until the mushrooms are at the desired consistency, adding olive oil if the pan gets too dry.  When the mushrooms are almost done, add the spinach and stir until it wilts, then remove from heat and set aside.

4. Prepare the custard: mix the eggs, egg yolks, milk, heavy cream, remaining salt and pepper, and the nutmeg in a bowl until combined.

5. For the quiche: line crust with 1/2 cup of the cheese, add the vegetables, then the rest of the cheese.  Pour the custard over the top, and place in oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is browned and the middle is set.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

*To prep pie crust: In order to do this successfully, use a chilled crust which has been in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.  It shouldn’t be frozen, just chilled enough that it won’t lose its shape or shrink too much while baking.  Line the crust with foil or parchment paper, then use pie weights or dry beans to fill the bottom of the crust.  Bake until lightly golden brown, approximately 10-12 minutes.

**If using frozen spinach, there is no need to slice or wilt it.  Just thaw it, then squeeze out as much of the water as possible with paper towels and add to the veggie mixture.

Print Recipe for Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

***I am not sure where this recipe came from (I wrote it down years ago, on a note card which is now well-used and turning yellow) but it is quite similar to the recipe from the Cooks Illustrated Cookbook.  The primary amounts are the same (eggs to liquid), although the spices and fillings are all a bit off.  If you are interested in a more traditional quiche lorraine (bacon and cheese), check out their recipe.

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