Flash Dinner: Quiche

Let’s talk about quiche. Why is it so hard to find a plain old basic quiche recipe? I don’t know the history of its evolution, but isn’t quiche supposed to be one of those things you make with the extra stuff you have in your fridge? Ok I have here half a head of cauliflower that I’ve chopped up really small, two and a half Italian turkey sausages, and some grated mozzarella. What to do? I’ve found a number of really good quiche recipes with specific ingredients and amounts. But no good base recipes. If you find one, please let me know because even the Joy of Cooking has no really basic quiche custard recipe.

The last couple months, I’ve been trying to come up with a decent ratio of ingredients to make a “Leftovers Quiche”. There are only a few really necessary ingredients to be able to do this quickly. Now I won’t promise this is going to be super rich and delicious. But it will suit.

In order to make it quick, you might want a to keep on hand a pre-fab crust (preferably frozen). Though you don’t actually NEED a crust if you happen to have some breadcrumbs or crusty bread (using old bread, make sure it’s all dried out or toasted and pulse it in the Cuisinart to make crumbs). For breadcrumbs, generously oil a pie, tart, or small lasagna pan and sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs. If you don’t have enough crumbs to cover the bottom, expect that your quiche is going to stick to the bottom unless it’s greased really well. Without a crust, though, you may want to consider making a frittata instead.

Now you need a cheese of some kind. The medium hard ones are best. Cheddar, Swiss, or even a mozzarella. Shred it. If you only have soft or crumbly hard-to-melt cheeses like goat or feta, they will work but they should probably count as part of the “other filling” ingredients rather than the main cheese because they won’t help the quiche hold together as well. Honestly, if you only have soft or crumbly cheese, it’s might be better to scrap the quiche idea altogether and go look up some good tart recipes (If I’m feeling frisky at some point, I’ll post a tart variation here), or, again, a frittata. Yes, you can make a goat-cheese quiche, but I’d recommend you use cream in your custard as well.

And speaking of custard, well, you need to make a custard. You need milk. Preferably whole milk. If you happen to have some table cream or half and half around to mix in with your milk, that will make a nice, rich custard. But you really must have at least 2% fat milk to make a custard remotely hold together and not taste like watery egg. The basic ratio is 1 egg to 1/4 cup of milk. You can play around with this a little… add an extra egg to try and compensate for lower fat milk (which will make it taste a little eggier) or less cheese but don’t decrease the amount of milk. You might end up with extra custard. But the idea is to avoid ending up with not enough.

Spices… use your judgement. Nutmeg can go in a spinach and Swiss quiche, chili powder with a cheddar and broccoli.

I’m still kind of playing around with this one but so far, here is what I’ve got:

1 9″ frozen deep pie crust
4 eggs
1 cup milk (or 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup cream… or 1 cup milk, 1 cup half and half)
1 (to 1 1/2 cups) shredded cheese
1/2 tsp salt

2 to 3 cups of filling which can include:
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small minced onion
Thawed frozen (get all the extra water out) or fresh chopped veggies (spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, kale, zucchini, summer squash…)
a meat (turkey sausage, bacon, pan-charred chicken bits)

Put your chopped up fillings and cheese into the pie crust. Make sure you don’t put in too much though I like my quiche to be more dense with fillings and held together with the custard. Mix your eggs, milk, and spices to make the custard and pour the custard over the filling so that it closes up all the gaps. Don’t fill your crust all the way to the top as it will rise a little and you don’t want it spilling over in the oven.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes (until an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Mmmmm cauliflower, sausage and mozzarella quiche.

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