All Purpose Quiche

The phrase “real men don’t eat quiche” was popularized from the title of a 1980s book and came to symbolize the confusion that men in the 1980s experienced as a result of changing gender roles. Fortunately for us, the 1980s are long gone… I love quiche.

There is something very elegant about a simple and uncomplicated dish that can deliver the complexity of flavors that a quiche does while also offering tremendous versatility in the range of ingredients that can be utilized. A French staple food, custards featuring meats and vegetables have been documented in English cuisine going back to the 14th century. Bottom line, any dish with half a millennia of history deserves respect.

This is a favorite for me when I’m staring at my butcher block on a Sunday morning and not feeling like making a regular breakfast for my family. However, I would caution you against pigeonholing this as a breakfast-only option, quiches make fantastic lunch and dinner choices given what you can put in them.

IMG_20161121_133243.jpgThe most challenging part of a quiche is the pastry crust, which by itself is no big deal but requires planning to execute well. Our home is pretty much gluten-free so that adds an additional wrinkle, but someday I will post my recipe for gluten-free pastry crust. To circumvent the pastry crust challenge, I buy pre-made gluten free pastry crust at Whole Foods (yeah, it’s one of the rare items that I sole source from WF). They are in the freezer section.

What to include in your quiche is entirely up to you, I go with a basic 3 leg approach of a vegetable, a meat, and cheese. Today I scanned my refrigerator and immediately grabbed some leftover asparagus that I had cooked in the sous vide the day before. Bacon or pancetta is always a welcome addition, but don’t limit yourself to savory pork goodness as pretty much anything will work well. For cheese, there is one choice for this, Parmigiano-Reggiano or the equivalent, but beware that these cheeses bring their own salt to the party and when combined with bacon you won’t need to add salt.

6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 onion, diced
3 slices thick cut bacon, 5 if thin cut
6-8 asparagus stalks, cut into 1″ segments
3/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, or equivalent
1 frozen pie crust

Preheat oven to 350. Put frozen pie crust in oven for approximately 10 minutes, until the bottom is thawed and firm to the touch.

Cook the bacon until it is just this side of crispy, remove from pan and dry out on paper towels. Chop coarsely.

img_20161119_074120Reserve 1-2 tbs of the bacon fat to sauté the onions in. Add the asparagus to the pan with the onions and warm (in my case they were already cooked, if you are using raw asparagus then you would want to leave them on until soft).

Add vegetables to the pastry crust, with the chopped bacon. I actually forgot to add to my bacon to this quiche, so I served the quiche with bacon sprinkled on top. Success in the kitchen is often about improvising.

Whisk eggs and milk well but not so much so that you are creating a lot of air bubbles in the mixture. Add 1/2 cup of cheese to the egg mixture and pour over the vegetables and bacon in the pastry crust. Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out dry.