DISH: Spinach-Pie Quesadilla
TYPE: Mixing and matching
MAIN INGREDIENTS: Egg, Cheese
In my New York, the egg and cheese sandwich might be the quintessential sandwich, dethroning traditional staples like pastrami on rye and lox on a bagel. Delis, from humble to gourmet, slap these two simple ingredients on anything from kaiser rolls or toast to croissants and wraps. And when bagel places get in on the action, I start thinking there might not be anything better. The cheese used runs the gamut from American to fancy cheddar. And the eggs are like omelets, scrambled, or fried. But I don’t even really know why I’m bothering to list all these variations, because however you tweak them, Egg and Cheeses are always good, even bought from the least likely places. In fact, it’s been reported that one of the best was actually made in our high school cafeteria: it was Liz’s cherished Fatty with Cheese, if that gives you any idea.
I make and serve Egg and Cheeses in some of these variations fairly regularly. Recently, inspired by the buckwheat crepes my host mother in Paris used to cook an egg right in, I’ve been recreating the sandwich on a wrap: I just sprinkle a bit of Jarlsberg on a wrap I’ve fit into my frying pan, then crack an egg or an egg white over and seal the whole thing quesadilla-style as the cheese melts and the egg cooks.
With some farmers’ market spinach wilting in my fridge (sometimes I wonder if my life will ever be conditioned by anything other than the vegetables I must save from rotting into waste), I decided to tweak the fusion up just one more notch. Not just Frenchified (the crepe), or Mexican-like (quesadilla), today’s egg and cheese was also going to resemble a spinach pie (Greek).
In this rendition, the egg becomes more of an ingredient in the sandwich filling than the main event, but artistic license permits that I continue to think of this bastardized sandwich as a comforting go-to Egg and Cheese (though it’s healthier than a Fatty with Cheese) for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
From my kitchen, where old New York standards give way to melting-pot hybrids, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 small onion, finely diced
2 scallions, sliced (white and green parts)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
pinch each of thyme, oregano, and cayenne
1 cup fresh spinach
1 small wrap
1 egg white
1 tablespoon strained yogurt
1-2 tablespoons feta cheese
In a small pan, heat the oil. Add the onion and scallions and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cooking a minute or two more until soft. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the spices. Mix in the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove to a bowl and cool slightly. Stir in the egg white, yogurt, and half of the feta.
Wipe out the pan, then brush it with a bit more oil or cooking spray. Over low heat, put the wrap in the pan and sprinkle the rest of the feta over one side of the wrap and see if you can’t get it to melt slightly. Pour the egg-spinach mixture over the same half of the wrap, fold the other half over and cook on one side until the egg begins to firm up, 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.