For the next few weeks, I’m going to discuss various egg dishes. Sorry if that’s not your thing, but Paul and I went to Costco where we bought a package of 36 eggs. So, there is a lot of egg-eating to do in our household. Besides, they’re incredible and edible. The TV said it, so it must be true.
First stop on our voyage through Eggland? The almighty quiche. Don’t be afraid just because it has a French name. Once you know the basics of the quiche, it will become your go-to recipe. It works for brunch, lunch, or dinner. They can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temp. They’re easy enough to whip together for a large group and if you cut them up, they work well as appetizers. They also travel well and can be reheated pretty easily.
Best part? You don’t really need a recipe. You can actually make a quiche out of whatever happens to be hanging out in your fridge.
You will need the basics:
- Milk or cream
- Crust and something in which to bake it (usually a pie pan)
What you can throw in, if you so desire:
So, here’s how it works:
If you want to be fancy, make a puff pastry or a pie crust from scratch. Or, get a ready-made one from the store. I have made quiches where you throw everything in the pan and bake it all together. I will say that it helps to pre-bake your crust (flakier crust, less chance of spillage over the side as the crust shrinks). Put the crust in your pan, use a fork to prick a few holes in said crust, and bake according to the crust directions. I usually lob off a few minutes so the crust doesn’t get dried out.
Now, take your eggs and milk or cream and whisk them together. If this is all you’re doing (which I strongly urge you NOT to do… half the fun of the quiche is the creative filling), throw it in your pie crust and bake. “Whoa,” you say, “How many eggs? How much milk?” Well, now that depends on what you throw in it. You need a good ratio of egg to filling. So, let’s talk filling before we move on.
Innards of Your Quiche
Use stuff you like to eat yourself, keeping in mind that you don’t want a bunch of wet veggies or greasy meats. This will just cause a soupy mess. Basically, chop up any vegetables and sauté them in a bit of olive oil BEFORE you add them to the quiche. Same goes for the meat. You want bite-sized pieces of everything. Sautéing does two things: It releases liquid (water or fat) from the veggies or meat so that you avoid the soupy mess above and it melds all the flavors together so that they will happily permeate the eggs and make your quiche wonderful.
But you’re at a loss for what to put in the quiche? Well, if you’re a carnivore, stick to your tastier meats (bacon, ham, breakfast sausages, smoked salmon). I’d avoid chicken, turkey, and hamburger just because the flavor tends to be blah. Make sure you drain the fat OR use that lovely rendered happiness to sauté your vegetables!
What veggies are good? I like mushrooms (cooked down quite a bit), frozen spinach, onions, a clove or two of garlic. I typically stay away from fresh tomatoes because they are too watery, but I like the sun-dried variety. Roasted bell peppers and jalapeño peppers are also lovely. But you can really do anything: shredded potatoes, frozen hash browns, asparagus, squashes, beets, whatever floats your boat. Just make sure to sauté until tender.
The same goes for cheese. Not the sautéing, but the floating your boat part. If you do smoked salmon, maybe you want some cream cheese in the mix. Or, shredded Swiss if you’re going the ham/green onions route. Again, experimentation is the name of the game.
Let the filling bits cool and mix in with the eggs. So, now we get back to how many eggs. If you have a 9-inch pan, start with 4 eggs and ½ C milk or cream. Then, scale up if it looks like you’re not going to have enough egg to bind the filling together. You might think about sprinkling some cheese on the top, if you’d like.
Making Sure It Doesn’t Kill You
Then bake. Usually about 350° or 375° for 30-45 minutes, but again, it depends on the pie crust type and the filling. You want the eggs to be set (sticking a toothpick in to see if it’s clean is a good test). Also, if it’s bubbling and moves when you take it out, it needs to go back in.
Once you have the basics, you can start getting crazy. Like the recipe I love where you sauté your veggies in cream and then mix in the eggs. Oh the decadence!