Monday, May 16, 2011

Upside-Down Spinach and Feta Quiche with Potato Crust

Hot on the heels of Mother's Day last week, we had another brunch this Sunday to celebrate my mom's graduation from Penn. To make things a little easier on ourselves, we went with a quiche-heavy menu so that things could be prepared in advance ... but we didn't want to have our guests succumb to Pie Crust fatigue, so we came up with this alterna-tart using a Yukon Gold potato crust. For extra presentation points, we served it upside-down, almost like a stuffed version of Potatoes Anna.

It seemed to go over quite well, and the only difficult part about it is the mandoline-ing and arranging of the potatoes. I think next time, baking it a little less would result in a slightly more attractive dish, but the flavor was very nice. Here's how we made it:

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes
1 lb baby spinach, or perhaps a bag of frozen spinach
4 eggs
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Nutmeg
Cayenne pepper
Cumin

If using fresh spinach, blanch the spinach in batches in salted water, shocking in an ice-water bath. If using frozen spinach, prepare per package directions. Either way, drain spinach very well by wringing in a towel. You may need to roughly chop the fresh spinach at this point.

Preheat oven to 375°. In the meantime, boil the potatoes for about ten minutes - they should still be firm, but with a bit of give on the outside. Allow to cool and then peel. Using a mandoline, or a knife and nerves of steel, cut very thin slices of the potato (cross-wise).

Lightly brush the inside of a pie plate with olive or vegetable oil. Starting from the center, arrange the slices of potato in an expanding spiral, overlapping them as necessary, and work them all the way up the sides of the plate. It should look something like this:

When complete, lightly brush the inside of the crust with oil, and place in the oven for about 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling by beating the four eggs and mixing with the crumbled feta. Add spices to taste and season with pepper and a little bit of salt (remember that the feta will be salty).

Remove the crust from the oven and scatter the spinach across the bottom. Top with the egg/feta mixture, then create the top crust by gently laying the remaining potato slices on top of the filling in a similar overlapping spiral pattern.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and filling has puffed up. Make sure the crust is free from the sides of the pan, then cover the pie plate with your serving plate, say a prayer, invert and serve.

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