Friday, 25 April 2008

Quiche Whatever

Real men most certainly eat quiche, although back in the seventies when it was first introduced to our family's table, the recipe came from a friend of my father in the form of "cheese pie", and it didn't contain any of that wussy vegetable stuff. Whatever cheese was in the fridge at the end of the week, plus milk and eggs, salt, pepper and a grind of nutmeg; bunged in a frozen pie shell, stuck in the oven for half an hour, and called - cheese pie. It was quiche, though, and it's better with some vegetable matter and some appropriately matched seasonings.

1 9" Quiche - 6 servings
1 hour - 20 minutes prep time - not including pastry making

Spinach, Mushroom and Cheddar Quiche with Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Quiche
1 9" prepared single crust pie shell, made or purchased

2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup rich milk or light cream
salt & pepper
200 to 400 grams (1/2 to 3/4 pound) chopped meat or cheese
3 to 4 cups chopped prepared vegetables

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prick the bottom and sides of the pie shell all over with a fork, and bake it for 8 to 9 minutes, until about three-quarters done. Set it aside to cool.

Prepare whatever vegetables you would like to go into the quiche.

Use things such as chopped leeks, onions, shallots, green onions, mushrooms, or peppers, which should be sautéd in a little oil until soft, then set aside to cool and drain - especially mushroom, which may release quite a lot of fluid which may interfere with the setting of the custard.

Things such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, chard, kale, or asparagus should be steamed until three-quarters done, then cooled enough to handle. (They can cool completely if you like, in fact they can be - shh! - leftovers.) If they were frozen, they should be thawed. Drain them well, and chop or slice them in fairly small pieces. Leafy greens in particular should be squeezed, really quite hard; again to rid them of any liquid that would interfere with the custard setting.

Tomatoes can go in raw. They should be peeled and sliced or chopped, salted lightly, and set to drain for about 20 minutes to keep them from exuding too much juice; same problem as above.

Fresh herbs should be cut in chiffonade or chopped fairly finely.

Prepare the cheese or meat. I don't like large chunks of definite meaty meat, but things like bacon bits, ham, smoked fish, smoked turkey bits would work. Any kind of cheese that enjoys being melted is fine.

I am not being precise about quantities, because there is some flexibility, and also pie shells vary more in size than you might think. I bought some ready-made pie shells for these as I was making quiche en masse for a group event, but I noted that they seemed smaller than I expected. A little comparison showed that the purchased 9" pie shells measured 9 inches from the outer rim of the foil plate to the outer rim of the foil plate, whereas my glass pyrex 9" pie plate measures 9 inches from the inside of the rim to the inside of the rim. It seems a touch deeper, too; it would certainly have held more than the low end of the figures listed above, which are more in line with what I used in my purchased pie crusts.

Note that if you wish to fill a 10" pie plate, you will need to add 50% more to my listed quantities; i.e. in particular another egg and and a generous 2/3 cup of milk or cream, plus more of the, um, inert content.

Finally, preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper to taste, and any other seasonings you wish to use, then beat in the milk or cream. Ladle this over the quiche, and bake it for 30 minutes at 350°F.

For the quiches above: in one I used 4 medium-large button mushrooms and 2 green onions sliced and sautéd together, with cheddar cheese and cooked spinach, seasoned with a little dill; the other contained Mornington goat cheese curds, diced tomatoes, and shredded fresh basil.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Those look good. I have some ham in the freezer and I was thinking that a quiche would be the perfect way to use it.