I’ve been trying to perfect my Spinatwähe, Switzerland’s spinach quiche, for years, and I think I finally cracked it—no bland filling, no overwhelming spinach flavour, no soggy bottom.
I served this version at an informal lunch last week and it received high praise, my friend Stuart, originally a Scotsman but in Switzerland for decades, voted it the best Spinatwähe he had ever tasted, and Johanna, a Fribourg native, gave it high praise, second only to her mother’s version.
Sam had the leftovers for dinner, and by the time I remembered to ask his opinion, he was on his second helping.
“Is there any more?”
Highest praise of all was from my toddler, who left her plate clean, just as Popeye would have liked it.
Filling-wise, I added two big handfuls of fresh herbs to the regular mix of onions, garlic, and spinach. Extra flavour came from the generous grating of Sbrinz, Switzerland’s version of parmesan. Breadcrumbs on the bottom, plus squeezing additional liquid out of the spinach before adding it to the tart shell seemed to prevent the dreaded soggy bottom.
Serve your Spinatwähe for lunch or dinner, with a side salad (maybe tomatoes?) or not, still warm from the oven, or cooled—anything goes.
200 g flour
pinch of salt
80 g butter, cold
125 ml water, cold
knob of butter
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
800 g-1 kg fresh spinach, roughly chopped or 600 g frozen spinach
two big handfuls of fresh herbs, roughly chopped
300 ml milk or cream (or a mix of both)
nutmeg, salt and pepper
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
80 g Sbrinz or parmesan, grated
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
Add the cold butter in pieces and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers until you have small flakes.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the water. Mix this gently until a dough forms. Try not to overwork the dough or it will become tough.
Press the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic, and let cool in the fridge for about an hour.
Roll out your dough and line a 26 cm (10 inch) round tart pan. Poke the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, then keep the tart shell cool (preferably in the freezer) until you have the filling ready.
Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F / gas mark 6.
In a large pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Once it is spluttering, add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.
Over medium heat, add the spinach. if you are using fresh, cook until it has wilted. If you are using frozen, cook until it has defrosted. For both, continue to cook for a few minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the fresh herbs and cook for a few minutes more.
Remove from heat and let cool in the pan, or transfer to another bowl to cool.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, and seasonings.
Get your prepared tart shell, sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Now add the spinach mixture to the tart shell. Use your hands to first squeeze out any extra liquid, then add to the shell. Add the cheese as well, using your hands to mix it into the spinach and evenly distribute the filling.
Pour the egg mixture over top.
Bake in the bottom part of the oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until the tart is nicely browned.
Many herbs would work here. I used a mix of thyme, oregano, basil, parsley, sage, and rosemary. Use what you have.
You can defrost your frozen spinach in the fridge overnight, just squeeze out some of the excess liquid before you add it to the pan.
For the liquid element, I went half milk and half cream. For a lighter version, go for all milk, something richer demands more cream.
Don’t omit the breadcrumbs, they help absorb additional liquid and prevent a soggy bottom.
Garnish with more fresh herbs, if desired.