Ever since I was a little kid, every time I thought about Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, which I still do, on occasion, for one reason or another, I always identified with the peppy, persistent, doesn’t-take-no-for-an-answer Sam I Am. Sam I Am was full of energy, full of questions and full of ideas. He was the kind of character a kid wanted to be. In contrast, of course, was the tall, grumpy, curmudgeonly character (did he have a name?), who does little more than gripe about his disdain for Sam’s cuisine throughout the majority of the book. No one wanted to be that guy.
Adulthood, however, and a more honest reflection have revealed a scary truth. When it comes to green eggs and ham, I am no Sam I Am. I am, in fact, the other guy, the one who drags his feet in not-so-silent protest anytime eggs appear at the table (or in a box or with a fox). I do not like eggs. And I do not like green eggs. And while we’re at it, I’m not so fond of ham either.
But alas! Dr. Seuss has taught us that there’s a silver lining to every green eggs and ham story, and after much experimentation and tasting, I’ve learned that mine all comes down to a simple case of punctuation. Green eggs and ham? No, Sam, I’m afraid that’s not my cup of tea. But green, eggs and ham? Now you’re talking. Oh, the power of a comma.
This recipe for spinach and Gruyere quiche might be a stretch as far as Sam is concerned, but I like to think he’d admire the creative spin. With heavy cream, onions and Gruyere cheese (yes, it’s a bit decadent), pancetta in lieu of simple ham and a generous heaping of spinach, this is now my official answer to, “How do you like your eggs?” I think I’d like it here or there. I think I’d like it anywhere.
Spinach and Gruyere Quiche
Adapted from Once Upon a Kitchen
• 9-inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought works fine)
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 4 ounces pancetta, diced
• 4 eggs
• 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
• pinch of ground nutmeg
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
• 8 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place pie crust in a pie dish, and prick bottom and sides of pie crust all over with a fork. Bake on center rack until fully cooked and lightly golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside and reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.
Heat butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. Cook onions and pancetta until onions are soft and translucent and pancetta browns, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Place cooked pie shell on a baking sheet. Spread onions and pancetta over bottom of cooked crust, and then sprinkle grated Gruyere over top. Scatter spinach evenly over the cheese, and then pour egg mixture over top.
Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes until egg mixture is set and the top is lightly golden (if crust starts to brown too quickly before egg is set, cover the edges with foil). Serve hot or warm.
How do you like your eggs? Are you a plain and simple fan? A quiche- or frittata-lover? Or maybe an omelet is more your style? And has anyone done it up in true Sam I Am style with the real-deal green eggs and ham? Do tell!