What’s a girl to do with so many eggs, why make quiche of course!
I like to bake, but I would much rather put my eggs into a savory summer quiche. Two dozen eggs might seem like a lot for a week of eating, but when you calculate eggs in the morning, egg salad and quiche into a weeks worth of meals, they get eaten. At first mention that so many eggs would arrive on a weekly basis with the CSA, the family exuded alarm. Three months of CSA in and the eggs not only get consumed, but the same faces that went ashen at the thought of eating so many eggs, sometimes sneak in an extra dozen from the grocery store. Do they think I do not notice?
From exotic to experiment
Quiche hit the scene in the early 70’s. Prior to that it was an exotic French food that world travelers brought back tales about. And there was only one type of quiche, Quiche Lorraine. It is a classic. It is still the pinnacle of quiche making and eating, but it is made with a thick buttery crust and heavy cream. As a technique and a gold standard, it is one you should learn to do, but the kitchen is a “laboratory” and it is the place to experiment. So once our mother’s mastered Quiche Lorraine, passed the recipes down, we took a leap of faith and began to add everything and anything, eliminated the crust, made crust from vegetables, and created variations on the theme.
Chard your course with quiche
Lettuce is letting up, and the chard is still coming. Chard and cheddar might seem like a blend that is a bit to, not sure what the word is, harsh of a flavor combo, but the mozzarella softened the blow. Instead of milk or cream in the custard (egg/liquid blend), I added cottage cheese. It does not affect the flavor, and it does add a nice dense body to the quiche, and holds together well. Quiche should be creamy, yet solid when cut from the pan. There is nothing worse than a watery slice. Not enough eggs to liquid ratio can be one problem, but the bigger one is not precooking the vegetables.
Water is great, but not in a quiche
Vegetables contain water. Take a look at any recipe where I have cooked the chard or kale from a mass that is escaping the pot to an entangled lump of greens. Not only do vegetables contain water, they are primarily comprised of water. Broccoli, mushrooms, leafy greens. Put them into a quiche uncooked and they will not only be tough to bite through, they will leave a puddle on the plate, a soggy crust, possibly make your eaters revolt and push away from the table. Maybe a bit drastic, regardless, vegetables do much better in the quiche when cooked ahead of time.
Where does the cheese go in a Summer Quiche?
Layering is done in a certain way with the vegetables, cheese, and eggs in the quiche. This recipe is for a crustless quiche, not because we are gluten-free, but rather because I am not a big fan of making a crust in humid conditions. You probably have air conditioning, we don’t in Maine. Claiming that I need it for a flaky crust may not warrant the installation of one. So, vegetables get cooked down to eliminate the water. They are set aside to cool, the custard is prepared, the cheese is sliced and the layering begins. And no crust is rolled.
Vegetables on the bottom. Cheese layered or sprinkled, in this case both, on top of the vegetables, and then the custard poured carefully, thus not disrupting the vegetables and cheese. It will seep into the crevices to hold it all together. An NO, you do not need flour or anything else to bind a custard as long as the egg to liquid ratio is right. The more eggs to liquid, the sturdier the bind.
Summer quiche vs winter or fall quiche?
This one is a summer quiche as it comes straight from the CSA bag. I have been accused of using ingredients twice in a row with recipes. I do try to space them out, but we eat seasonally as much as possible. So while chard is available the year round, this bunch came straight from the farm. I am sure there is another summer quiche lurking, but this next one will have summer squash and zucchini. That started a few weeks ago. Look for summer quiche 2 in the next week or so….
Separate steps seem daunting, but really are quite easy
While this ends up in the EasyPeasy category, it does require a few steps. But they are simple ones like cooking down the veggies, blending the eggs and cottage cheese, and crumbling and slicing the cheese. Quiche is a technique and once mastered, becomes an easy meal or an elegant entrée.
Summer Quiche w/ Mozzarella & Cheddar
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 8oz/230g cottage cheese (whole milk or not)
- 4oz/115g cheddar, crumbled or grated
- 4oz/115g mozzarella, sliced (fresh is preferable, but not necessary)
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 Tbsp dried herbs (suggestions: savory, oregano, thyme, herbs de Provence)
- 4 fl oz/125ml tomato sauce (plain or seasoned)
- 1 TBSP olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°F/175C
Wash and stem Swiss chard.
Place in sauté pan and cook down until onions start to caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside.
Slice or grate mozzarella.
Crumble or grate cheddar.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs and cottage cheese. Whisk until the large chunks of the cottage cheese start to break down.
To assemble the quiche: place the chard/onion mixture in the base, cover with the cheddar, spread the layer of tomato sauce, layer the mozzarella over the cheddar.
Sprinkle dried herbs over the layered ingredients.
Carefully spoon the cottage cheese/egg mixture over the cheese. Allow it to seep down in. If poured all at once, it will run out over the edge of the pie plate or baking dish.
Line a sheet pan with foil that can come up around the edge of the pie plate. This helps to catch overflow.
Place in oven and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
The pie plate used in this recipe is a 10" deep dish. A rectangular baking dish can be used as well.