Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Improvising


Quiche is a culinary treat. It’s one of my favorite dishes for a few reasons, but namely because it’s so easy to improvise. Recently, we arrived home from a trip late and hungry. No one felt like going to the grocery store, so I looked in the fridge to see what I had: eggs, butter, cheese, and some assorted vegetables. What to make? Quiche!

Another reason I enjoy quiche so much is because of the way the textures and flavors combine to create a complex flavor profiles. A quiche custard done right is light and delicate. The vegetables and cheeses stud the egg with delicious pockets of flavor, and a crisp, buttery crust rounds out the dish. A crust that melts in your mouth provides the perfect complement to a light custardy, cheese filling. A true quiche isn’t far from ambrosia.

This is a perfect time of year to make quiche, as the first spring vegetables come into season. Quiche is a dish easily adapted to seasonal offerings. Quiche is a good way to take advantage of ramps, peas, asparagus, and artichoke. Mix and match the vegetables, cheeses, and seasonings for a selection of diverse outcomes. Here’s my basic recipe to get you started: 

Rosanna’s Mediterranean Quiche

INGREDIENTS

Pie Crust
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/4 Sticks Organic Salted Butter
3 Tablespoons Crisco or other vegetable shortening
1/4 Cup Ice Water
1/2 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt

Vegetables
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking
1 bunch loosely chopped asparagus (preferably thin)
1 bunch green onion, greens and whites loosely chopped
2 cups fresh peas
3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped finely

Custard
6 Eggs
3 Cups of 1% Milk
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup grated Reggiano Parmiggiano Cheese
8 Small Fresh Mozzarella Balls, cut in fourths

DIRECTIONS

Vegetables
1.     Heat olive oil in medium sauce pan, add garlic and stir briefly
2.     Add chopped vegetables and sauté at medium-high heat until wilted and soft
3.     Remove from the heat and set aside.

Crust
1. Cut the butter into 2-inch pats and set aside.
2. Prepare ice water and set aside
3. Combine flour and salt in the food processor, mix in the butter pats and shortening.
4. Process the mixture until the flour, butter, and shortening are totally incorporated- the mixture will look like coarse sand.
5. Add ice water slowly. Process in the pulse mode until the dough forms a rough ball.
6. Place the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Custard
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add in the milk, salt, grated parmesan, and mozzarella, and whisk together with a fork.
3. Remove the vegetables from the refrigerator (make sure that they’ve cooled down to room temperature), and add to the egg mixture.
4. Mix with a fork and place mixture back in the refrigerator.

Quiche Assembly
1. Remove dough from refrigerator.
2. Spread a pastry cloth over a large, flat surface.
3. Fit a stocking on your rolling pin.
4. Scatter flour on the pastry cloth and rolling pin.
5. Coat the dough with a light dusting of flour.
6. Flatten dough with your hand and slowly begin rolling out in a firm even manner. (Don’t over handle the dough or add too much flour as it will become tough and not flaky).
7. Once the dough is rolled out, slip a pie pan under the dough and gently transfer to the pan.
Leave at least three inches of extra dough all around the edge. Cut off excess.
8. Remove the egg mixture from the refrigerator and pour into the shell.  
9. Gently crimp the extra dough around the edges of the quiche with your thump and forefinger into fluted edges.
10. Cook quiche at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. The quiche is done when the custard has risen and solidified, and when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
11. Let the quiche rest on a wired baking rack for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

Enjoy!

*Photo by John Granen courtesy of Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide to Creating Traditions. Published by Abrams: Stewart, Tabori & Chang





www.rosannainc.com

4 comments:

FrenchGardenHouse said...

This sounds delicious, Rosanna. I'm going to try this soon, it's the perfect dinner for right now. Thanks! Lidy

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Rosanna Bowles said...

FrenchGardenHouse, did you get a chance to try the recipe? Let me know what you thought of it.