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Frittata Quiche

Frittata Quiche

I have not researched the origins of Quiche, especially Quiche Lorraine, but I am sure it would make for a fascinating study. By now in my career, having made several thousand of them I think I know how to do them and the exact original recipe is unimportant to me. Years ago in a hotel setting we had a luncheon quiche on the menu, it was set as a “Quiche of the Day”, which gave the kitchen the freedom to change the ingredients to what ever we needed at the time. The kitchen management commonly referred to quiche as a way to use up leftover’s from previous meals. No we did not serve garbage, but when the breakfast cook had a slow day and his pre-cooked link sausages were there at the end of his shift, they could then be used in a “Western” quiche for lunch.

The traditional quiche was a thick custard with very little other product added. I remember having an argument with a french salesman who wanted to sell us his pre-made quiches. When I complained that there was not much bacon or anything else in them he got kind of indignant and insisted that the “original” quiche was not “supposed” to have any thing but custard and a little bacon. I said Okay, I will stick with putting the kitchen sink in mine, the customers love them.

Time Out: What does Wikipedia say; “Quiche Lorraine is perhaps the most common variety. In addition to the eggs and cream, it includes bacon or lardons. Cheese is not an ingredient of the original Lorraine recipe, as Julia Child informed Americans: “The classic quiche Lorraine contains heavy cream, eggs, and bacon, no cheese.”[3] The addition of Gruyère cheese makes a quiche au gruyère or a quiche vosgienne. The addition of onion to quiche Lorraine makes quiche alsacienne.”

Now that I have filled you up with the classical nonsense lets get down to the good stuff. You can make quiche out of anything in your refrigerator that you think will go together. Typically it has a salty meat like bacon, sausage or ham, onions or scallions and some kind of cheese. The harder cheeses work better in quiches because they return to being hard when they are cold. You can use any kind of pastry you want for a shell, or you can make a crust less quiche and forsake the shell altogether. You can get fancy and purchase a square bottom quiche dish and make your own pie dough to line the dish or go to your super market and get the frozen ready made crusts in white or whole wheat flour.

Recently I have been making hundreds of individual quiches that are crust less. (Some people may call them “fritatas” I am not going there) I use a number of ingredients: Gruyere or Manchego cheeses form the base and then I add bacon and onion, or spinach and sun-dried tomato, or brocoli and tomato, or asparagus and roasted yellow pepper. Let your imagination run wild and come up with your own list, you can use bay shrimp, scallops, crab meat, lobster or what ever happens to be around and it will be great. The key is the method.

Make sure your ingredients are cooked. Getting warmed up in custard will not cook the bacon or onions or vegetables. Make sure that your cooked vegetables are thoroughly drained of all excess liquids, and that the excess grease is drained from the bacon. Use this custard recipe:
4eggs (8 oz)
8oz Heavy or whipping cream (This is your scale, basically 50/50)
Salt, White pepper, Granulated Garlic, and Nutmeg. to taste usually 1/2 t of each (be careful with the white pepper)
Mix this thoroughly, I use the immersion blender to make sure the nutmeg and white pepper are incorporated. Nutmeg likes to float or sink to the bottom, so stir it again when you add it.
Now take your cheese and sprinkle an inch deep of it to put in the bottom of the shell as your first ingredient. Next add the vegetables and meats mixture, finally mound the remaining cheese on top of your other ingredients. Be sure to mostly cover all of your vegetables with the cheese otherwise they will scorch in the oven. Now that you have all the ingredients in the pie slowly pour the custard through the cheese until you see it nearing the top of the crust. Don’t pour in too little (it will be a very flat quiche) and don’t pour in too much as it will overflow as it cooks. As it cooks the cheese will melt and incorporate around the meats and vegetables and blend into the custard. It takes about an hour in a non convection oven to finish, you can tell when it is done by touching it in the center, it will dome up and should be firm to the touch. I would recommend a temperature of 325 or so ( slow enough to cook with out burning) and be sure to use a cookie sheet underneath to guard against over-flow.

You can use this same method for a crustless quiche using a muffin tin or custard dish. Egg loves to stick to any surface it cooks with, so be sure to use lots of pan spray and when it comes out of the oven let it cool before you try to carefully loosen it with a small metal spatula or bow knife. With this method the cooking time is obviously much less. This is an easy quiche to make and it’s great for buffets and parties.

Quiche is great either hot or cold. I like mine with sauteed Lyonnaise potatoes, a little onion and paprika and you are good to go.

Here is the sequence: From empty 3″ muffin pans. Spray with non-stick pan spray (helps). then add 1st layer of cheese, next ingredients. Now top it off with more cheese. Add custard to near top of the cup. Bake 350* oven for 15 to 30 minutes (Mine is convection 15 minutes is good). Now cool just long enough to be able to touch the pan. Then loosen sides with a bow knife and carefully lift out of the muffin cup.

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