Tuesday, June 1, 2010

David Tanis' Spinach Cake


We have been eating less and less meat around here. I am pretty tired of chicken and there are so many environmental issues with fish and beef that moving away from meat-eating seems natural. I cannot imagine being a vegetarian and don't see that as our future, but we are eating more and more meals that do not revolve around a slab of meat.

Farm eggs are great source of protein and I am always attracted to egg dishes: omelets, custards, stratas, etc. This recipe from David Tanis' Platter of Figs drew me in with its description as a cross between and custard and frittata. The dish is exploding with spinach and its texture is both creamy and fluffy at the same time. Plus, I can imagine using so many other veggies in this recipe: chard, mushrooms, peppers, beets greens....

Tanis suggests serving the vibrant green spinach cake with an herb salad. I decided to use some of the edible blossoms from our garden as a side dish. We have been letting our veggie garden run a bit wild lately. In less than three months we will begin our year of travel and our Berkeley garden will have to find its own rhythm without us. 





INGREDIENTS adapted from David Tanis' Platter of Figs 
(printable recipe)
  • 2 pound spinach leaves
  • 2 medium leeks, 2 heads green garlic, and/or 2 spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Parmesan

Thoroughly clean spinach leaves. Coarsely chop and set aside. Dice leeks, green garlic and/or spring onion.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.


Add leeks, onion, and/ or garlic.  Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about five minutes until tender. Grate nutmeg over the top.


Turn up the heat. Add spinach in layers (salt each layer as you go) until you can fit it all in the pan. Cover and steam, stirring once or twice, until spinach has just wilted. This should only take a couple of minutes.


Spread cooked spinach onto a platter to cool.

Preheat oven to 400.

When spinach has cooled, get out your blender and puree spinach, eggs, and milk in batches. (Tanis suggests reserving the extra liquid from the cooked spinach and adding it to the puree. I would recommend pouring out the excess spinach water. When I left it in, I had liquid at the bottom of my cake when it was done cooking.) Add extra salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Puree should be heavily seasoned.


Pour soupy batter into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan over the top.


Bake uncovered in the oven for 35-45 minutes until firm. When the cake is done, you should be able to insert a knife and it will come out clean.

Serve the custardy cake at room temp for brunch and briefly reheat your leftovers in the oven for a tasty breakfast or lunch the next day.


Serves 6-8

36 comments:

  1. I too eat meat less and less often and I think it makes one really creative cook....
    the spinach cake looks very interesting...love it's intense color....and with all the instructional photos looks like it's easy to make.
    I've noticed you cook with "Platter of Figs" often, I'm thinking about buying it, do you recommend it???

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  2. Hey M., I do love Platter of Figs - it has become one of my prized cooking resources. Knowing your sensibilities, I think it is a book you would love!

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  3. That cake looks so delicious. Great photos!

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  4. so it will be a good investment :)

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  5. This looks so interesting! I love leeks in egg dishes, too - they're so much more delicate than garlic and onions. Does this taste anything like quiche?

    By the way, you mention the environmental issues regarding fish...maybe you've already seen this site, but it has an extensive list of fish categorised by which are best and worst for the environment:
    http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=1540

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  6. M, you will not be disappointed by Tanis' food. Plus the photos are inspiring.

    Stephanie, thanks so much for stopping by:)

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  7. And Meg, it is an interesting dish.... fluffier and lighter than a quiche.

    And thanks for the Environmental Defense Fund link, I have been familiar with the Seafood Watch list put our by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but this EDF list looks great too!

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  8. Oh my, what a green cake! Looks tremendously healthy, yet still yummy at the same time. :)

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  9. this looks amazing. I'm a total meat lover but I am also a spinach lover and you have inspired me. you've also made me hungry.

    feed me!

    please.

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  10. Wait..."year of travel?" You're not leaving us, are you? Does this mean that Yummy Supper will be taking a break *whimper*? Please say it isn't so!

    Now that I've pulled myself together...beautiful photos as always. The cake looks delicious. I need to pick up that cookbook!

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  11. Lemons and Lavender, no worries:) "A year of travel" means I will take Yummy Supper on the road. Think cooking school in Bali, local delicacies of Tazmania, fresh caught lobster in Vanuatu, Japanese cooking gear.... I think we will have a lot of fun!

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  12. What an interesting alternative to quiche. And easier, too! ;)

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  13. looks lovely! i love a savoury cake! x

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  14. What size and type of cake pan do you recommend for this recipe?

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  15. This looks wonderful. I've had so much creative fun since I started moving away from meat. I won't ever likely be a complete vegetarian either, but I get much more excited over a recipe like this one you posted than another beef recipe. Can't wait to try this!

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  16. Anonymous, Tanis recommends a 9-10 inch deep dish pie pan. I used a 9 inch round ceramic baking dish (see 2nd to last photo).

    thewimpyvegetarian, You are so right... it takes much more creativity to whip up non-meat dishes. I have a lot of fun with that too. I have been on a roll with using beans a million ways lately;) Thanks for stopping by!

    -Erin

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  17. Could you make it possible to print out recipes without the comments and photos? Much less ink and paper that way!

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  18. Anonymous, I finally set up printable recipe for my site, but I haven't gone through my archive set this up on every recipe. I will try to get to this one today - excess paper is no fun:)

    More of Less Cooking, Thanks so much!

    -E

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  19. Anonymous, the printable recipe is ready for you. Just click on the "printable recipe" link at the top of the Ingredient listing.
    -E

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  20. Hi Erin; the cake looks incredible. Have you tried making it with skim milk? Do you know if it would work?
    Thank you!
    Monica from Chile

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  21. Hi Monica, Thanks for the note from Chile! I haven't tried the recipe with skim milk, but I am concerned it might end up too watery.
    Cheers,
    E

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  22. Do you think I could half the recipe and it would work as well?

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  23. Hey there:) My instinct says.... yes I bet you could halve the recipe, thought I haven't done it myself.
    -E

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  24. Green eggs, No ham. Well I obviously love green so I'm in with this dish, but eggs are a second favorite of mine. I understand the cutting down on meat. It's difficult to be able to afford the good meat and fish on a daily basis. This would make a good supper or lunch for us too. Beautiful photo. The green just grabs you.

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  25. Angela - green eggs, no ham;) Love it!

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  26. Looks beautiful and delicious! Do you have any thoughts on how SoDelicious unsweetened coconut milk (not the high-calorie canned kind) or almond milk might fare in this recipe?

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  27. Hi Anonymous, I do love coconut milk, but I'm not sure how it would work in this recipe. If you try it out, I'd love to hear how it goes for you:)
    -Erin

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  28. Your blog looks amazing! Just found it though Pinterest. I'm in love with all these recipes! Do you think the texture/flavor of this would change much if nonfat or lowfat milk was used instead? Thanks for all the new recipes!!

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  29. Hi Molly. Thanks so much for the nice note! I haven't tried the recipe with non or low-fat milk. I am concerned the cake would get a little too thin and watery. But if you give it a try, I'd love to hear how it goes for you:)
    -E

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  30. AnonymousMay 24, 2012

    It's funny that with all the comments here no one has actually made this and given feedback...I just made this last night and it was yummy but it came out wetter than I was expecting, with liquid on the bottom. There wasn't any extra liquid with the spinach, but I didn't squeeze it out either. I used 1% milk so maybe that was the reason. Good though!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous, thanks for your insightful comment. I had the same experience with this recipe. I figured it was the spinach, but who knows?

      I so love hearing how things work in other people's kitchens. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know your experience.
      E

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  31. hi!
    I have just wolfed down one of these, and it was absolutely DELICIOUS, i served it with some simple tomatoes and a balsamic dressing. thanks for the inspiration, i did a riff on your recipe by adding some chopped button mushrooms in with the onions before adding the spinach. it has turned out really, really well although, when i turned it out of the dish, the bottom was just an eggy yellow, which i found strange?

    Thanks again for the inspiration for my dinner tonight. :)

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    1. Hey there Natasha,

      Thank you so much for letting me know about your spinach cake experience. Adding chopped mushroom sounds delish. Not sure what to say about the eggy yellow bottom. I know I have had issues with a slightly soggy underside too. Hmmmm...

      Cheers,
      E

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  32. This looks delicious, I can't wait to try it! How many days would you say it is good for? I like to make egg dishes for a week's worth of breakfast. Have you ever tried freezing it? Thanks!!

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    1. Hi Carlye, I think the spinach cake would be good for a day or so, but probably not more. And I've never frozen it. So many good questions:)
      Happy eating to you,
      Erin

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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