Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brie, Mushroom and Ham (Crustless) Quiche

I used to make 2 quiches a day when I ran a small restaurant. Of all the things I cooked, this was one that I never felt like eating. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE quiche. I just hate crust. With a craving for quiche recently, but no stomach for starch, I decided to wing it with absolutely no crust. It worked!

Quiche is a GREAT way to use up leftovers. You can put almost anything in it. As long as you have the base ingredients, the cheese, and about 2 cups of other flavour ingredients, you're good to go. Needing to work efficiently in the restaurant, I broke quiche-making into these steps:

Base for any quiche
• 3 eggs*
• 3/4 c milk

Here’s where the dish can get interesting. Most any cheese will work. Even brie (a favourite of mine).
• 1 c shredded or chopped cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and brie leftovers)

“Flavour Ingredients”
Get out your leftovers! Choose items with flavours that will compliment each other and add up to about 2 cups. Get creative! (Let me know what you come up with!)
• 1 small onion, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, pressed
• A slice or two of baked ham, diced
• 1 cup of mushrooms, roughly-chopped
• 1 large handful of spinach, roughly-chopped

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, beat the milk and eggs together. Mix in all the other ingredients. Butter, margarine or oil a pie baking dish. Pour the ingredients into it. Place in centre of oven, bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Can be served hot or at room temperature. Excellent with salad or soup.

About Flavour Ingredients
I call the spices, herbs, vegetables and meat the “flavour ingredients”. This is usually where the quiche either gets its name or its unique flavour.

Rule of thumb: “flavour ingredients” should add up to about 2 cups to fit into your quiche dish.

After you’ve made a few, you’ll start instinctively knowing which ingredients and spices will work nicely together. Trust yourself; it’s difficult to go wrong with this dish.

Spices/herbs: I never use salt in quiche. Between the cheese and the meat, I find it ends up salty enough. Be careful about which herbs and spices you mix. Not all of them go well together. For example, I don’t think I’d put dill with anything else except curry. It is so unique that I wouldn’t want to mix it with something that wouldn’t let it express its own flavour. Curry is strong but, surprisingly, it doesn’t overpower dill. On the other hand, pepper is one of those spices that goes with everything! Great herbs and spices to put to quiche: pepper, dill, oregano, thyme, basil, or curry.

Vegetable ingredients: Quiche is a super way to top-up on vegetables without feeling like it’s a vegetarian dish that you’re making. Vegetables that are great in quiche: corn, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, onion, garlic, and shallots.

Meat ingredients: Meats are very flavourful so you don’t need much in a quiche. For example, 6 slices of chopped bacon will do. Meats that are great in quiche: bacon, ham, turkey, chicken, pork, or sausage.

*Remember to use free-run or free-range eggs! They taste fantastic and the hen gets to live a much nicer life. My Papa used to say “Vote with your dollar everyday!” I vote for farmers that treat their cash-cow ethically.

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