In Season Now: Spinach

It’s coming!

Storage vegetables are still abundant at farmers markets across the state. In the wooden crates of our favorite farm stands, potatoes and onions, perhaps some squashes and shallots too are piled and waiting. But April also ushers in a happy time: greens, the first vestiges of the growing season.

It’s a joyous time for farmers market shoppers. Lovely bunches of Swiss chard, brilliant bags of lettuce greens, perhaps some pea shoots, and vibrant leaves of spinach mark the onset of spring—or, at least, the end of full-on winter.

Before long, there will be a colorful variety of Maine-grown fruits and veggies to choose from. But for now, there’s greens. Wonderful, lovely greens.

Spinach, in particular, has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A and other nutrients. Beyond being Popeye’s favorite, spinach is a veggie that’s delicious raw, such as in salads or pestos, and cooked too. Sauteed spinach with garlic is one of my very favorite side dishes.

But one of my favorite ways to enjoy spring spinach is in quiche with ham and Swiss cheese. Easy to make (you simply layer the ingredients in a pie shell and then bake), it’s a light but hearty spring dish perfect for brunches and lunches.

Enjoy this with a salad.

Spinach, Ham and Swiss Quiche

Serves 6

1 frozen deep dish pie crust

1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed

1 cup diced ham

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

5 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the pie crust on a baking sheet.

Arrange the spinach, ham, shallot and Swiss cheese in the pie crust. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour into the crust.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until set and slightly golden on top. Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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