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Swiss Spinach Quiche: A Hearty Alpine Delight

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Swiss cuisine is renowned for its comforting and hearty dishes, often influenced by the rich culinary traditions of the Alps and the availability of fresh, local ingredients. Among these savory delights, Swiss spinach quiche stands out as a flavorful and satisfying dish that marries the earthy goodness of spinach with the richness of Swiss cheese in a buttery crust. This dish, known locally as “Spinatwähe,” is a popular choice for lunch, brunch, or even a light dinner, offering a perfect balance of flavors and textures.

Origins and Cultural Significance

Spinach quiche has its roots in Swiss and French culinary traditions, where quiche is a staple dish appreciated for its versatility and comforting qualities. In Switzerland, spinach quiche is particularly favored during the spring and summer months when spinach is in season. It highlights the Swiss emphasis on using fresh, seasonal ingredients and showcases the country’s knack for creating dishes that are both wholesome and delicious.

Ingredients

To prepare Swiss spinach quiche, you will need:

For the Crust:

  • 200 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 300 g (about 10 oz) fresh spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 150 g (about 1 1/2 cups) Swiss cheese (such as Gruyère or Emmental), grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream or half-and-half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Crust

  1. Make the Dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the cold cubed butter and use your fingertips or a pastry cutter to blend the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add Water: Gradually add 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time, mixing gently with a fork, until the dough just comes together and can be formed into a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
  3. Chill: Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow it to rest and firm up.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Cook Spinach and Onion: In a large skillet, sauté the chopped onion until translucent. Add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted and any excess moisture has evaporated. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
  3. Prepare Cheese: Grate the Swiss cheese and set it aside.
  4. Whisk Eggs and Cream: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream (or half-and-half). Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg (if using).

Step 3: Assemble and Bake

  1. Roll Out Dough: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into a circle large enough to line a 9-inch (23 cm) quiche or tart pan. Carefully transfer the rolled-out dough to the pan, pressing it gently into the bottom and sides. Trim any excess dough hanging over the edge.
  2. Layer Ingredients: Spread the cooked spinach and onion mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared crust. Sprinkle the grated Swiss cheese on top.
  3. Pour Egg Mixture: Pour the egg and cream mixture evenly over the spinach and cheese filling.

Step 4: Bake and Serve

  1. Bake Quiche: Place the quiche in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown.
  2. Cool and Serve: Remove the quiche from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with fresh herbs if desired.

Serving Suggestions

Swiss spinach quiche can be served in various ways:

  • As a Main Dish: Serve it as a main course for lunch or dinner, accompanied by a crisp green salad.
  • For Brunch: Enjoy it as part of a brunch spread, alongside fresh fruit and pastries.
  • As a Picnic Dish: Pack slices of quiche for a picnic or outdoor gathering, as it travels well and can be enjoyed at room temperature.

Conclusion

Swiss spinach quiche, with its buttery crust, creamy filling, and flavorful combination of spinach and Swiss cheese, is a comforting dish that embodies the heartiness and warmth of Swiss cuisine. Whether enjoyed as a meal on its own or as part of a larger gathering, this quiche offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures that will satisfy any palate. Embrace the flavors of the Alps with this recipe for Swiss spinach quiche, and savor the culinary heritage that makes Swiss cuisine a beloved tradition around the world.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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