Whether it’s a relaxed brunch with friends, a weeknight dinner on a busy day, or a troubling occasion that has sent us to the kitchen for love and sustenance, egg casseroles and their variations play a significant role in many Midwest American families. There is just something about their creamy, soft, salty texture, the ease of which you can both make (one bowl) and eat them (fork or spoon- either will do), and that little extra bit of joy you get each time you discover one of the hidden ingredients mixed in; a gooey bite of cheese, a bit of crispy bacon or salty sausage, tender artichoke or juicy red pepper… Maybe they are a deeply rooted acquired taste and I am totally blind and biased towards them, but a sturdy egg casserole seen me through both the fondest and the most sorrowful of times. My family eats an astounding number of eggs on a weekly basis. I wonder just how many chickens, if we were ever to have them, it would take in order to sustain our egg intake. But I see no reason to cut back; free range eggs are reasonably cheap, easy and versatile to cook, and exceptionally healthy. The trick is to continue exploring ways to use them to keep everyone interested.
This egg casserole was cooked off the cuff one weekend morning as a lazy brunch. With one fowl (ha!) swoop I ticked several nutritional boxes and spent the time hanging out with the family, rather than at the kitchen stove. The results were met with second helpings by everyone at the table, lingering over breakfast as only you can on the weekend. Most of the ingredients can be swapped and changed for whatever you have in the fridge. I’ve made this with green chilies, bacon and cheddar cheese, leftover sausages, roasted red peppers, sautéed onions, mushrooms and courgettes, etc. It’s basically a quiche filling, but saves you the hassle of making a crust, and for some reason (probably just the sheer volume I’ve consumed over my current lifetime) tastes ten times more comforting than even the finest French quiche. My Midwest roots are clearly showing.
Egg, Cheese & Spinach Casserole
1 tsp. oregano
32g (1/4) cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used Cheddar here but Gruyere would also work well)
approx. 50-75g (1/2 cup) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1125ml (1/2 cup) crème fraîche or sour cream
pinch of sea salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper
grated Parmesan to finish
In a large bowl break your eggs and begin to whisk, adding in herbs and baking soda. Whisk until as smooth as possible and well combined before adding in your flour, and whisk again. Next add in your cheese and spinach, stir in your crème fraîche or sour cream and season.
Preheat your oven to 160C/320F. Grease a medium sized casserole dish (mine was randomly 8 x 12. 9 x 13 works well here too) with a teaspoon of olive oil to prevent sticking. Pour in your egg mixture, loosely cover with foil and pop in the oven for approx. 25 – 30 minutes. Or until the edges of the casserole are set but the centre is still a bit wobbly. Once this texture is achieved, grate a good amount of parmesan cheese over the top to finish and pop back in the oven for a further 10 minutes or so until the cheese has melted and the centre has firmed up. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before serving.
Leftovers, should their be any, freeze well in individual-sized portions or keep in the fridge for a few days. Can be eaten warm or room temperature.