Sunday, December 26, 2010
Oneshot: Refrigerator Pie! (Okay, Okay, It's Quiche.)
Before I started my short stint at Balthazar Bakery, we did a tasting of the menu, which included two types of quiche: Lorraine and Asparagus/Mushroom. I took tiny, bird-like bites of both. All I can say, I was heralded into a new world. The creamy richness of the egg and cream custard enveloped the Gruyere/ham/sweet onion goodness and just took me over the edge. I would have been more loony about the asparagus mushroom...if it had no mushrooms. Mushrooms taste like feet.
Anyway, I never thought I could love quiche. A childhood fear of cooked egg yolks (for some reason, eating fried eggs with the yolks in upset my tummy) has always kept me away from exciting egg dishes: frittatas, omlettes, and quiches. But I think that fear is more in my head now..and today I've decided to be unafraid!
That leads me to today, the outside world blizzarding like whoa, and craving some quiche for breakfast. This also makes a pretty damn good lunch when served with a small salad. I used Alton Brown's recipe because...I love him. Plus, this recipe is DEAD EASY. Really!
I started with two eggs and some heavy cream. You could use half and half..but why? Whisk the eggs in a medium sized bowl until well mixed and light colored, then throw in a cup of heavy cream. Mix well, and DON'T FORGET TO SEASON! Under-seasoned eggs are a travesty. I used sea salt, fresh black pepper, and a little Bacon Salt for good measure. The recipe called for fresh nutmeg too, but I forgot it. Oh well. Set aside while you prepare some fillings, in this case: thawed chopped spinach, canned artichoke hearts, and shredded (or grated) parm cheese. Please make sure you squeeze all the water out of the spinach, lest your pie bottom will be soggy. No one likes a soggy bottom. Chop your hearts finely, and then prepare for assembly.
Simply scatter the spinach on the bottom of a frozen pre-baked pie shell in a even layer, then the hearts, and then the cheese. Now, pour your eggy mixture evenly over it all, so the the liquid settles in evenly. Since the eggs will expand, you want it really surrounding your ingredients, or else it'll bake right out of the pan! Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet (in case of spilling) and slip into a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Before that time was up, I sprinkled some more cheese to melt on the top to make a crunchy crust. Extra yum. I could tell that it was done because when I stuck a toothpick in the middle, no eggs gushed out. Win!
Quiches are better when they're a little less than warm, so let this cool for like, 15 minutes. Patience!
Honestly, you can make this with whatever you have on hand: cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, some blanched asparagus, peppers, leftover chicken...ANYTHING! Alton suggested Spam too, but I don't think I'll be trying that any time soon.