Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An 'American Grown' White House Recipe: Spinach Pie

A versatile dish that can be served for lunch, brunch or dinner...
Recipes from the White House chefs are featured in First Lady Michelle Obama's book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, published on May 29, 2012. Spinach is grown in Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden virtually year-round, thanks to the use of hoop houses, protective covers that allow vegetables to grow through the winter. Executive Chef Cris Comerford's recipe for Spinach Pie is easy to make--it uses a pre-made crust--and is very versatile, Comerford notes in the book. (Above: Comerford cooking with the First Lady in a photo from the book)

"Fresh spinach takes a starring role in this satisfying, savory pie," Comerford wrote. "Perfect for a busy family, it can be made in advance and served hot, cold, or at room temperature. Try it for lunch, brunch, or dinner, served with a light green salad and fruit for dessert."

The very first recipe released by the Obama White House in 2009 was for Chef Comerford's side dish, No Cream Creamed Spinach.

Chef Comerford's recipe tip: "You can use whole or 2 percent milk instead of half-and-half if you prefer." The Top Toque also has a serving tip: "I like to put a dollop of Greek yogurt on my portion for extra tartness."

Check the sidebar of the blog for all White House recipes. Click here for 'American Grown' recipes.

Click here for an excerpt from 'American Grown.'

White House Spinach Pie

Ingredients
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 pound fresh spinach, well washed and drained

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup half-and-half

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

8 ounces Swiss cheese, grated

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.

2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the spinach, a little at a time, and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half. Add the lemon zest and thyme. Add the spinach, the feta cheese and half the Swiss cheese and mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Pour the mixture carefully into the pie crust and sprinkle the remaining Swiss cheese evenly over the top.

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the center is set. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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CLICK HERE for links to all posts about American Grown. CLICK HERE for links to all posts about the Kitchen Garden. CLICK HERE for all Let's Move! posts.

*Photos by Quentin Bacon, courtesy of Crown Publishing. Reprinted from American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama. Copyright © 2012 by the National Park Foundation. Published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.