David Tanis' Spinach Cake

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. 

adapted from David Tanis' Platter of Figs 
  • 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.

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