As soon as I saw the picture, I knew I would love this dish. Unexpectedly, a package arrived at my door a few weeks ago. It was a book from Robin, one that she had and been drooling over. I also, had been drooling over it not only because of the delicious, seasonal recipes but also because it is beautifully written.
Immediately, I got to work flagging the recipes that I had to try and this was one of the first. Essentially, it is a crustless quiche with, as Robin would say, an assload of greens. The recipe calls for 2 pounds of spinach, which I used but I also added a bunch of random beet greens that been hanging around in my fridge. You couls use any of your favorite greens here or a combination of them all. If you'll notice, the greens in the cake weren't enough for me, I had to add a little arugula salad on the side. One can never really have enough greens and this is a great recipe for that purpose.
I do recommend free range eggs and organic milk.
from David Lebovitz,
Adapted from A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes (Artisan) by David Tanis
I liked this very much, but be sure to season the mixture very well, like, more than you think, before baking. I’m curious, and next time I’m going to add small bits of cooked bacon or proscuitto to the batter just after pureeing it in a blender.
David says to simply puree the spinach and custard mix until smooth, but I’m thinking it might be better a little “leafy” so will also blend it to the point where the spinach is fine, but not entirely smooth.
2 medium leeks (you could use two onions, or a bunch of scallions or green garlic instead)
2 tablespoons (30 g) butter, salted or unsalted
salt and freshly-ground pepper
2 pounds (.75 kg) fresh spinach, well-washed and stemmed
big pinch of chile or cayenne pepper
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
6 large eggs
1. Remove the green part of the leeks, slice each lengthwise, rotate them a quarter turn, then slice them lengthwise again, keeping the end intact. Swish the leeks in a bowl of water until they’re grit free, and towel-dry. Cut into small pieces.
2. Melt the butter in a deep pan and sauté the leeks with a little salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until they’re translucent. While they’re cooking, cut the spinach into ribbons.
3. Once the leeks are cooked, begin adding the spinach in batches, putting on the lid until the spinach has cooked down, then you can add more. Add salt and pepper as you go, and include a scraping of nutmeg and chile powder during the final batch.
4. When all the spinach is just barely wilted, turn it out into a large bowl (along with any juices) and let cool. Stirring it a few times will speed it up.
5. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C.) Liberally butter a 9- or 10-inch (23-25cm) deep round baking dish. I used a 2 qt (2l) baking rectangular baking dish.
6. Working in batches, puree the spinach mixture with the milk and eggs until almost smooth. (At this point, if you want to add some cooked bacon or chopped proscuitto, you can.)
David recommends adding more salt and pepper here, which is a good idea: you want the mixture pretty well-seasoned.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Grate a wispy layer of Parmesan over the top and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife poked into the center comes out clean.
Serving: Let cool to room temperature, then serve.