Quiche is a classic French dish that originated in the Alsace-Lorraine region of northeastern France. In essence it is a pie crust filled with a savory custard made of eggs and cream, with the addition of seasonings and other ingredients such as onions, garlic, mushrooms, ham, shellfish or vegetables. The most famous is probably quiche lorraine, which has crisp bacon bits in the custard filling; traditionally it contained no cheese, but today usually has gruyere in it. But really, almost anything makes a good quiche.
Quiche seemed a retro food to me, for I hadn't made it in years, but I did one recently and it was delicious. Never mind all that stuff about real men not eating quiche; we're all secure in our sexuality here, and keen for a good meal. So here's how to make one:
What you need:
- 1 pie crust (I've posted my favourite recipe here)
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups (360 ml) 18% butter-fat cream (called table cream in Canada), or heavy cream, or creme fraiche, or half heavy cream and half milk (but not too much milk, or your custard will be watery)
- flavourings: fresh (not packaged) bacon bits, sauteed onion, blanched broccoli, and grated cheddar cheese is my choice, but let your own imagination and taste buds guide you
What to do:
First, the pie crust. Don't buy a frozen one: they look and taste like cardboard. Make one yourself. It's not hard, you'll feel strangely humble but proud, and it'll be delicious. The pie crust needs to sit in the fridge for an hour before rolling out, so prepare your filling while it's chilling.
Custard: combine eggs and cream. Add salt and pepper if desired, or any other herb or spice. A little freshly grated nutmeg is nice.
Bacon bits: dice bacon and fry until crisp.
Onions, garlic: saute in butter or leftover bacon fat till soft. Also the technique for softer vegetables like zucchini (courgettes) and peppers (capiscum).
Broccoli: chop into bite-sized pieces and blanch, that is: bring a pot of water to a full boil, drop in broccoli pieces, and cook for about 30 seconds. Drain and run under cold water to stop further cooking. The technique for any hard vegetable.
Cheese: grate or crumble as required.
When you've got the dough rolled out and in the pie plate, sprinkle the cheese across the bottom of the pie crust. Top with sauteed veggies and bacon bits, and artfully arrange the broccoli or whatever you have. Pour the custard over it all, trying to completely cover your fillings, pop in a 375°F (190°C) oven, and bake for 25-35 minutes, till filling is browned and set (jiggles only slightly when you shake the pan). Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes, and consume. Fantastic paired with a fresh green salad and a nice bottle of Chardonnay. It's also good cold, so look forward to leftovers!