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Smoked Salmon and Spinach Quiche

A good quiche recipe is great to have in your repertoire, because, to others, it seems a little fancier than it really is. Once you get the crust down (which is simple here), the options for fillings are endless, from ham and fontina to sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese. Here, smoked salmon and spinach rule in this lovely recipe by Emily Vikre of the beautiful blog, Five and Spice. The tagline for Emily's blog is “Fitting Real Food Into Real Life,” and many of her recipes are guided by a no-nonsense, relatively laid-back approach to food. If you’re just starting out in the kitchen, check out Emily’s Back to Basics post on stocking the pantry and learning about spices. For now, stock up on butter, flour and a little salmon, and this could be on the table in no time.

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Ingredients

Crust

1 cup plus 3 tablespoon all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoon good butter (European-style cultured butter will give you the best results), cold, cut into pieces

1 egg, lightly beaten

About 2 tablespoons ice-cold water

Filling

About 4 ounces hot smoked salmon, crumbled into flaky chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large shallot, diced

3 ounces baby spinach

4 large whole eggs plus 2 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon salt plus freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

Pinch nutmeg

Directions

Crust

1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Working quickly, rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until you have a mixture with pea-sized butter lumps. Make a well and add in the egg and water. Stir together until it forms a messy dough in a bunch of clumps, adding a tiny bit more water if it seems way too dry. Scoop the clumps together and press it into a ball. Flatten into a thick disk, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough out into a circle about 1 inch larger in diameter than your tart pan. Gently transfer the crust to the tart pan and press it in. Fold any overhanging edges back inward and press them into the crust, reinforcing it and making it thicker. We’re going for a solid crust here, not some eggshell-thin delicate little number. Put the tart shell back into the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork, then line it with foil or parchment paper (cover the sides and edges too) and fill the bottom with beans or other weights to keep it from rising. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet to prevent drips, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and peel off the foil lining and weights.

Filling

While the crust is cooking, make the filling:

1. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Stir in the shallot and cook until it starts to lightly brown. Then, stir in the spinach and a pinch of salt, and cook just until the spinach is nicely wilted. Remove from the heat.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a couple grindings of black pepper, the cream, milk and nutmeg.

3. Place the quiche crust back on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread the spinach mixture into the prepared crust. Sprinkle the crumbled salmon evenly over this. Then, gently pour the egg mixture over the top until the quiche is filled. Carefully transfer the quiche into the oven, which should still be at 350F. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the quiche is puffed and the center is set.

4. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes, or longer, before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature accompanied by a light green salad.

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