Spinach and Gruyere Breakfast Tart

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

This makes for a wonderful Christmas-day breakfast.

This is a simple recipe featuring fresh spinach, Gruyère cheese, milk and eggs. Although not something you can throw together in 30 minutes, the extra time it takes is well worth the effort. I like the way the shallots, garlic and garden-fresh thyme compliment the Gruyère. I like the addition of the crème fraîche, which gives it a slightly tangy flavor.

I also like this if for no other reason than the crust is different. It is cornmeal with wheat flour and raw millet worked in for texture. Unique and delicious. Give it a try. You, your family and your friends will fall in love with this wonderful breakfast dish.

Crust Ingredients:
½ cup fine cornmeal
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
¾ teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into ¼-inch cubes)
3-4 tablespoons ice water
¼ cup whole grain millet

Filing Ingredients:
10 ounces fresh spinach
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup minced shallots
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup crème fraîche
½ cup Gruyère (grated)
3 eggs (beaten)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Crust Directions:
Prepare a 9 x 1 inch tart pan with cooking spray. Using a mini food processor, pulse together the cornmeal, flour and salt. Add the cubes of butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and pulse until the dough starts to look like wet sand. If it seems too crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Turn the dough out into a large bowl and mix in the millet using a fork. You want to work quickly here so as not to stir the dough too much. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the prepared crust on a small baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Filling Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach. Cook until just softened, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the spinach to a large bowl of ice water (stops the cooking). Let stand for about 3 minutes. Remove from the cool water and, using your hands, squeeze as much water from the spinach as possible. Pat the spinach dry with paper towels and lay the spinach out on a cutting board. Slice spinach into thin ribbons. Set aside.

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and sauté the shallots until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, crème fraîche, Gruyère, eggs, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set this custard mixture aside.

Set the tart pan (with prepared crust) onto the baking sheet. Spoon the shallot mixture on top of the prepared crust, followed by the spinach; arrange them evenly. Pour the custard mixture on top of the whole thing. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is completely set.

Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Unmold the tart and serve warm or at room temperature. Serve also with fresh seasonal fruit, which is a nice compliment to the Gruyère.

About Valley Vegetarian

The fresh chef providing consistently good vegetarian comfort food recipes.
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