Kitchen: The (im)Perfect Quiche

Homemade quiche with bacon, arugula and shallots.

Homemade quiche with bacon, arugula and shallots.

I know I’ve posted about quiche already on this blog, so why do it again? Partly because after my recent trip to Paris, my obsession with this iconic bistro dish has only grown; also because I promised to offer solutions to making weekday meals for one or two people on a budget. A good quiche satisfies the francophilic foodie in me, being the absolute perfect French comfort food. I also hope to convince you that it’s a great option for the busy or frugal person, and it’s relatively easy to make. With a healthy dose of flexibility, you can bake a very delicious first quiche– and without any fancy kitchen tools!

 

But before I get ahead of myself I should quote Thomas Keller, who believes that Americans have killed the quiche since it arrived on our shores in the 1970s. In his words, we “trashed it without ever knowing what it was. And now it’s all but gone. I think it’s a mechanical problem, not having the right tool– a ring mold about two inches high. … Instead, a pie pan was commonly substituted for the two-inch ring mold. And then came the premade pie shell. Who would want to eat quiche made in that?” (Bouchon). 

 

Well, some of us would still deign to eat a quiche with a premade crust baked in a pie pan: those of us who do not have hours to perfect Keller’s arduous quiche crust recipe, available in his book. While our homemade quiches might not demonstrate the same lascivious “quiver” when poked with a fork, or the heavenly crunch and subsequent crumble of the crust, it will do well enough for nourishing our busy lives and our semi-sophisticated appetites. Sorry in advance, Tom Keller, for our imperfect quiches. 

 

Now that we’re free from the shackles of culinary perfection, we can fill a quiche with nearly anything our hearts desire. In the following recipe I use bacon, arugula and shallots, but you should feel free to experiment. Mushrooms, spinach, ham, and onions are common ingredients, as well as bleu cheese or tomatoes. My favorite quiche in Paris was made with haricots verts— delicate, slender, scrumptious French green beans (below).

At the Rose Bakery, in the Bon Marche.

At the Rose Bakery, in the Bon Marche in Paris.

The best part? For less than $10, you can create a delicious quiche and keep it in the refrigerator for quite a few days. If you’re crunched for time at breakfast, lunch or dinner– or if you find yourself entertaining– a slice of quiche is always a good thing to heat up!

 

Bacon, Arugula and Shallot Quiche

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust, defrosted. (Or, make your own dough.)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream or whole milk
  • 2 shallots, diced.
  • 6 slabs of bacon, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • 2 cups arugula, coarsely chopped.
  • 1.5 cups shredded Comte (or semi-hard cheese of your choice)
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence

 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Saute the bacon over medium heat, until the fat renders. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place over a paper towel. In the same pan with remaining bacon grease, saute the diced shallots over low heat along with the Herbes de Provence. Cook until the shallots begin to smell sweet and turn translucent. Drain the shallots and keep the leftover grease. 

 

Prepare the pie crust by placing the dough into a 9-inch pan or ramekin. Layer the bacon and shallots at the bottom, and cover with chopped arugula. Whisk together the eggs, cream/milk, and a splash of the bacon grease until well blended. Slowly pour the mixture into the pie crust. Allow the liquid to settle between the arugula and bacon before sprinkling the cheese evenly over the top.

 

Bake the quiche for approximately 1/2 hour, checking on it periodically. The quiche is done when the top begins to brown just slightly and appears solid. Let the quiche stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. 

imperfect quiche 1

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