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What's Cooking?: Quiche in the Limelight

Quiche

The delectable quiche is making a comeback!  It is one of the most versatile dishes that can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.  With an addition of a bright green leafy salad, it becomes a complete and satisfying meal.  Made into bite-sized portion as mini quiches or cut in tiny squares, they are wonderful as appetizers for cocktail parties or eaten as snacks.   It can be eaten hot or cold and perfect at room temperature which makes it conveniently portable for traveling or outdoor entertaining such as picnics, beach party, and road trips.  Quiche can be dressed up elegantly to serve for formal occasions as well as casual get-togethers like potlucks.  It is great in whatever season!

Quiche is considered a French classic dish but surprisingly it originated in Germany.  It is an open face pastry crust filled with fresh ingredients nestled in a custard filling rich with eggs and cream and then baked in a pie or tart pan.  The heavy cream can be substituted with half ‘n half or milk if you prefer a lighter custard.  This savory dish invites you to choose an endless assortment of seasonal vegetables for a meatless quiche such as asparagus, spinach, broccoli, kale, leeks, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms.  For meat lovers, combine the veggies in the custard filling with a choice of meats such as bacon, ham, chicken and seafood.  By the way, did I forget to mention the cheese that is layered and melted in the filling as it is slowly baked along  the other yummy ingredients that were mentioned?   Some popular cheeses added to a quiche are Gruyère, Swiss, Monterey Jack and cheddar.  The popular Quiche Lorraine originally did not have cheese in the recipe so if you want a cheeseless quiche, exclude it.  For me, the more cheese the better.

 Finally, don’t let making a pastry crust become a hindrance for not trying to make this delicious dish.  There is no excuse because there is a crustless quiche!  However, if you prefer a crust and do not want to make one, refrigerated pie crust dough is available in supermarkets.  Also, quiche freezes beautifully after it is baked, thus it can be made ahead of time.  Freeze the whole tart or individual slices after it has cooled.  This has come in handy when I’ve made them for new mothers to help with meals.  Leftovers are wonderful microwaved.  Varying the ingredients will make flavorful combinations resulting in different tastes.  Be creative, think out of the box and make it exotic!  My favorite is a deep dish quiche filled with spinach, bacon, leeks, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes with lots of Swiss cheese.  What will be your favorite?   

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Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan

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The Seasonal Baker: Easy Recipes from My Home Kitchen to Make Year-Round by John Barricelli                                                

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