This recipe is pretty straightforward and basic. David initially called it a "cake", then changed it to "pie." I must object. It's not encased in dough, therefore it's not a pie. I hope he doesn't decide to call things whatever he wants "just because" or I will be very annoyed. I thought about putting it in a pie crust to make a quiche, but I got too lazy. I called it quiche anyway. That is allowed.
I cut this recipe in half, and then made a few minor adjustments. My changes to a half recipe are in italics and
1 medium leek
1 tablespoon butter, salted or unsalted
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed and triple-washed
pinch of chipotle chile
about 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
Remove the green part of the leeks, slice each lengthwise, rotate them a quarter turn, then slice them lengthwise again, keeping the end intact. Swish the leeks in a bowl of water until they’re grit free, and towel-dry. Cut into small pieces. Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the leeks with a little salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until they’re translucent. While they’re cooking, cut the spinach into smaller pieces. Once the leeks are cooked, begin adding the spinach in batches, putting on the lid until the spinach has cooked down, then you can add more. Include the nutmeg and chile powder during the final batch. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Liberally butter a round or rectangular baking dish with high sides, with a capacity of at least 1 quart. In a food processor, puree the spinach mixture with the milk, cream cheese, eggs, turmeric, and white pepper until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. If desired, grate a layer of Parmesan over the top and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
I would have used the cheese on top but I forgot about it as I was seasoning and then was afraid it would end up too salty if I added the cheese. If I'd remembered there was supposed to be cheese on top, I would have cut back on the salt. Also, I didn't notice we weren't supposed to puree until smooth, and did. I'm sure the texture is more interesting if left a little ragged. (Pretty sure you could whip the egg whites separately and fold them in and you'd have spinach soufflé, always a crowd favorite.) I used a medium-sized, ceramic casserole dish for baking, but I still ended up baking it for 45 minutes, although I did turn the temperature down to 375 after 30 minutes.
Conclusion: Very good. Predictable, but a good main stay. It had a really interesting flavor that I couldn't quite identify. I really liked the cream cheese; I think it added a little more depth of flavor to the dish. I would definitely put this in a crust---it needed just a little something extra for fun and to cut some of the intensity of the flavor, and would also mask the unpleasant bitterness where the spinach gets browned. (In fact, it might be delicious sliced and wrapped in puff pastry.) I'm also trying to figure out how to add something oystery. (An oyster cream sauce? Is there such a thing?) Lastly, mine had a bit of a wateriness as I chewed, even though it doesn't seep in the pan. Perhaps I should cut back the milk next time (or use the correct type and quantity of eggs.)
Recipe: Spinach Pie via David Lebovitz