Friday, March 19, 2010

A word on Quiche

Quiche is Delicious.
Quiche is adaptable.
Quiche is classy!
Once, I was cooking with someone I would rather not have been cooking with, I recommended Quiche (since we had the ingredients) She became flustered, and told me she couldn't possibly serve such 'poor people' food to guests (though she had been raised on it). She told me the story of how her ex husband and his dinner guest friend had once made fun of her for serving quiche instead of some sort of red meat for the main course.
To this I answer "Whathafuuu?" and still to this day I cannot imagine how someone could feel that way about quiche.
Quiche is GOOD! 
There is nothing 'low end' or 'cheap' about the crunch of a well-made crust contrasted with the smoothness of the cheesy custard perfectly complemented by the freshness of the vegetables - no matter how economical of a dish it is to make.

Quiches adaptability begins with the crust. A testament to it's adaptability is that IT DOES NOT NEED ONE. That's right, you can pour your filling into a bare pie tin and the results are great (I did this once with seared eggplant and leftover potato cubes as the filling). You can of course use the old standby of a pastry crust, which is delicious. You can use filo, which some people like and I hate. But what if you want something wheat-free? You can use a cup of leftover rice mixed with an egg and baked to set, you can use the same method with leftover mashed potato. The best quiche crust I ever made was hash browns well buttered, pressed into a pie tin, and baked until crispy.
I rest my case as to the adaptability of quiche crust.
Today I have decided to use a mashed potato crust: around a cup of leftover potato, mashed, with salt, pepper, and a beaten egg, pressed into a pie tin.

This could be immediately filled with the quiche fillings, or it can stand in the fridge for several hours, or you can bake it at 350* for around 15 minutes to set it and crisp the edges for greater contrast of texture.

Quiche Filling
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
about 1 cup cheese, grated
Optional fillings to taste

This recipe for quiche custard makes enough for one small quiche. For a larger quiche or one with a very thin crust or few fillings, add another egg and 1/3 cup milk.
In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs, add the milk and salt, and whisk until homogeneous.
Grate your cheese and spread it in the bottom of your quiche. A mix of cheeses usually makes the best quiche. I am fond of mozzarella and parmesan. I would recommend against using 100% cheddar as it makes a greasy quiche.
Fillings are optional. With good quality eggs and flavorful cheese, you don't really need them. That said, I always like to put some vegies in my quiche. Chop your fillings into bite-sized pieces. Some good fillings include bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and zucchini. I am not a fan of adding meat to quiche, but some diced ham or a little crumbled bacon could go well in a quiche. Choose a few flavors to use in your quiche - don't overwhelm it. Some ingredients, like onions and eggplant, are better if they are pre-cooked, but most are fine raw. Use about a cup to a cup and a half of fillings, put in your pie tin and toss with the cheese.
Gently pour your egg mixture over the fillings - try not to make your quiche overflow if you used a lot of additional ingredients.
Bake your quiche at 350* for 45 minutes to an hour. It is done when it is slightly puffed and raised in the middle and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

I made this quiche with mozzarella cheese, sauteed onions and bell peppers, and baby portabella mushrooms.


There it is, before and after baking.
I love Quiche.


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