Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quintessential Quiche

Quintessential Quiche
     Every cook needs a great, basic quiche recipe in their arsenal.  Really, the quiche is the cook's ultimate multitasker.  Think about it -- quiche is perfect for the family breakfast, the Sunday brunch, the ladies' luncheon or the light dinner.  Heck, it's even tasty cold from the fridge for a quick snack! 
     Here is my go to quiche recipe.  Though the custard base stays the same, the fillers can easily be swapped.  Got a handful of fresh spinach or asparagus spears?  Throw 'em in!  Leftover sausage or crumbled bacon?  Yummy!  Looking for a vegetarian option?  No problem -- just leave out the meat and amp up the veggies (think red bell peppers, zucchini, squash or mushrooms). An abundance of fresh herbs from the garden?  The perfect addition!  Got a hunk of fontina in the fridge?  Grate it up and throw it in!  This recipe is really just a starting point for your own tastes and imagination.
     If you feel like channeling you inner Martha Stewart, then make the pastry from scratch.  Otherwise, a ready made pie crust works perfectly well.  So, what are you waiting for?  I bet you have most of the ingredients in the fridge right now.

Quintessential Quiche

1 unbaked 9" prepared pie crust
4 whole eggs
                                      1/2 cup cream (half n' half or whole milk may be subbed -- just use what you've got!)
1/2 cup milk
a dash of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup cooked ham, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, snipped

In a small skillet melt butter.  Saute chopped onion until translucent.  Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, cream, milk and cayenne pepper.  Season with salt.  Sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese in the ready made pie crust.  Top the cheese with the sauted onions, ham and remaining cheese.  Pour the egg custard over the filling and with the back of a large spoon, gently press the meat and veggies to submerse in the custard.  Sprinkle the top with the snipped chives.  Place the quiche on a baking sheet to avoid any spills in transit and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the custard is set.  Remove from the oven and allow the quiche to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.

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