Ham and Spinach Gratin or “It’s Not Quiche”

A few years ago, I received both volumes of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Honestly, most of my attempts to make recipes from them have not been huge successes.  Even the infamous potage parmentier did not turn out very well.  This gratin recipe – essentially a crustless quiche – is the exception and has become a staple in our house.

This recipe is necessary in your repertoire for several reasons.  First, it is incredibly easy.  This is the first recipe I actually braved cooking after I had a baby.  That easy.  Second, it is very adaptable to whatever you have on hand.  Change up the meat, vegetables, and cheese to your liking.  Third, it looks and tastes fancy, even though it isn’t.  We eat breakfast for dinner one night a week, and this takes it a whole new level compared to my usual pancakes.


Ham and Spinach Gratin  (Serves 4)


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 ounces ham, sausage, or bacon, diced or crumbled
5 large eggs
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
2 cups shredded potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes if fresh)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375. Place pie pan in oven with butter to melt while preheating.

2. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until beginning to become tender. Add meat; cook until heated (ham) or cooked through (sausage or bacon). Set aside.

3. Whisk eggs with milk and seasonings in a medium bowl.

4. Drain thawed spinach well, squeezing in paper towels to remove excess water. Squeeze freshly shredded potatoes or thawed frozen potatoes also.

5. Add onion/meat mixture, spinach, potatoes, and cheese to eggs, stirring just to combine. Remove pie pan from oven. Pour in egg mixture. Return to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until eggs are cooked through. Let cool slightly before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 308
Protein: 17 g
Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 254 mg
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 486 mg

Recipe notes: I cut down on the butter A LOT from the original recipe. I also added the spinach. Any seasoning combination of herbs and spices works. I’ve mainly used white cheeses, such as mozzarella and Swiss, but you could use one that matches your flavors of the other mix-ins. It is very important to drain the spinach and potatoes well. Also, sweet potatoes do not work well in place of the white potatoes. Your potatoes may turn a little brown/red after grating. That’s ok.  I have mixed all of the ingredients in a bowl and then refrigerated it for a couple hours before pouring in a hot pan and baking.  It worked well, although I don’t know if it would work well overnight.

Source: Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

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