This one is my take on the classic ‘Spinach and Corn Quiche’ or as I fondly call it, the ‘Corny Popeye’. Tastes way better than it sounds (haha!).
I’m a huge fan of both, Popeye and spinach but for those of you who get queasy at the mere mention of spinach, give this a try and you’ll be surprised to know how pleasant the quiche tastes. Not very spinach-y, plus the creamy béchamel makes it feature high on my ‘comfort food’ list.
If that wasn’t convincing enough, you can go easy on the spinach and go crazy with other herbs. Coriander, parsley, thyme, your wish!
This is a good way to trick your folks into eating healthy (Yes, I am the self-appointed food-grandma of my family). Nobody eats spinach without making a fuss so it must be disguised fancily and served with extra love and a wicked grin.
I. For the crust
- All purpose flour: 3 cups
- Butter: 2 sticks
- Olive Oil: 2 tbsps.
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Chilled water: 3-4 tbsps.
It is best to prepare the crust first and then start working on the filling. To make the crust rub the flour, olive oil and butter together with your fingers till the mixture becomes crumbly. Add one tablespoon of chilled water at a time to bind the dough. It is very important to use chilled water for the crust so that the butter in it doesn’t melt. After forming a ball out of the dough, cover it in cling-film and roughly roll it out on a flat surface. I use a rolling-pin till I get a circular shape and then work on it with my palms to stretch it out. Roll the dough onto a tart tin, trim off the excess bits and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
II. For the filling:
- Spinach: 3 cups (chopped)
- Onion: 1 (chopped)
- Corn: 1 cup (boiled)
- Assorted dried herbs
- Garlic powder: 2 tbsp or chopped garlic
- Green chillies: 2 (finely chopped)
- Salt and cracked black pepper
- Oil: 1 tsp
Start by heating oil in a pan. Add the onions and sauté till translucent. Now add the green chillies (depending on how spicy you want it) and spinach. The spinach will begin to wilt and release water once you add salt so save the salt for the end. Sprinkle your favourite assorted herbs, dried or fresh (I used dried thyme, rosemary and oregano), boiled corn and garlic powder. Finally, season it with salt and cracked black pepper and allow most of the water from the spinach to evaporate. Cool this filling.
III. For the béchamel (white sauce):
- Plain flour: 1 tbsp
- Butter/ Olive oil: 1 tbsp
- Milk: ½ a cup
- Cream: ½ a cup
I used to have nightmares about lumpy béchamel until I learnt this sure-shot technique. Heat the butter in a pot (if your calorie meter is going bonkers after reading ‘butter’ then use olive oil. It works just fine). Add the flour and start mixing till the flour has lost its rawness. Take it off the flame and add milk. Put on some old music and whisk away… It should take about 5 minutes to remove the lumps. Now add the cream and put the heat back on till the mixture is dense and creamy.
Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F. Poke the crust with a fork before putting it in the oven and blind bake for 10 minutes.
Now spread the filling on top of the crust, pour the béchamel over it, making sure you coat it evenly and pop it into the oven again, this time for around 30-35 minutes.
Remove, slice and serve.
Don’t forget to put on a smug face when you see everyone happily eating spinach!