This time of year, when warmer temperatures are still a long way off and everything sparkles with fluffy snow, I begin to pine for green. I'll take it in any form; may it be the pale stems of indoor forced Narcissus shooting upward toward the light, the contrast of a bright red cardinal perched on a spruce, or a little tuft of frozen grass peaking through the snow. As lovely as these glimpses are, they are isolated versions of the blanket of vibrant green awaiting us in the spring.
So today I filled up my grocery cart with a few green things, despite the distance they had traveled. I have been coined a neo-luddite many times before, yet throughout each day I am beyond grateful for modern conveniences such as hot running water and my beautiful Macintosh. Like so many others however, I feel as though some of these conveniences, especially when it comes to food, (grapes available year round for instance) have the potential to make us loose sight of reality. That said, I have a wonderful way of shelving my luddism often, especially when the organic spinach in the bulk bin seems to literally be glowing with green life.
This long winded reflection brings me to today's recipe: spinach pie. My weakness for green is equally matched with a weakness for butter pastry, so I went ahead and let them mingle. Raw jersey milk, fresh eggs and a sprinkle of grass fed cheddar hold it all together.
Many thanks to the distant farmer or greenhouse worker for sending a little green from their place to mine.
*2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
*1 medium sweet onion, chopped
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*6 cups fresh spinach leaves
*4 fresh eggs
*2 cups whole milk
*dash of nutmeg
*sea salt and pepper
*2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
*1 1/4 cup whole grain organic pastry flour
*1/2 teaspoon sea salt
*8 tablespoons cold high quality unsalted butter, cubed
*3-4 tablespoons ice water
Preheat oven to 375.
Place dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse. Add the butter and blend until it resembles a course meal. Slowly pour in the ice water with blade running until dough forms.
Turn out onto a floured work surface. Form dough into a disk and wrap in parchment. Chill for 15 minutes.
Return dough to work surface. Roll out with a rolling pin to desired pastry thickness, about 1/4 inch.
Place in a deep dish pie pan. Trim edges and crimp. Pierce dough with a fork all over.
Place parchment paper on bottom surface of dough, fill with dry beans or pie weights.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Allow to cool slightly before removing parchment and weights.
Set a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion. Saute until translucent. Add the garlic. Saute 2 minutes more before adding the fresh spinach. Season with sea salt and pepper. Allow spinach to wilt slightly before removing from heat.
Sprinkle bottom of prepared crust with the breadcrumbs.
Mix the eggs, milk, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour into crust. Add the wilted spinach mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese of your choosing such as feta, gruyere, swiss or cheddar (optional).
Bake for about 40 minutes or until top is golden and filling is set.
Cool slightly before slicing and serving.