12 February 2011

As Easy as...Quiche?

Although I am Italian, live in Italy and speak Italian, my personality, mentality and actions are more French than anything else. In fact, my Italian husband always asks me why I didn’t marry a Frenchman! Anyway, my style français is most evident in my cooking style. I love to cook all types of food, Thai, Indian, Mexican, etc. but the dishes that I consider my mainstays are always French in nature. This brings me to my all-time favorite lunch: La Quiche. In France, lunch specials abound with different quiches served with a salad, or even better, fresh, hot, pommes frites! Mmm…

The best thing about quiche is that you can make unlimited versions. But since we all know quiche to have a crust, it can be a deterrent for whipping one up at home (it was for me). Fortunately, there is a much easier way. Here is my recipe for a crustless quiche that will be the easiest quiche ever! Actually, there is an even easier version, which uses leftover grilled vegetables (thus no sautéing), and is really my favorite. But it’s still winter here, so no grilling. For this quiche, I have used zucchini and tomatoes (because that is what I had on hand) but I encourage you to use your favorite ingredients.

Crustless Quiche
4 small zucchini
1 cup/240g pomodorini (cherry or grape tomatoes)
2 large cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
½ cup/125mL white wine
5 eggs*
¾ cup/175mL whole milk or half and half*
1 cup shredded cheese* (semi-hard like mozzarella, gruyere, fontina)
Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper to taste
Whole grain flour and butter for your dish

*This really depends on the size of your dish--make enough egg and milk mix to cover your ingredients and enough cheese to make a good layer on the bottom of the dish. The cheese and flour act as the crust.

Preheat your oven to 350°F/190°. Grease a ceramic pie dish (please disregard my dish--my kitchen things are still in Sicily!) with butter and coat with a hearty flour (regular flour can be used but burns easily at high temperatures. I use spelt flour, which withstands the heat and doesn’t burn). Add the grated cheese to the dish, covering the entire surface with a thin layer.

Sauté the garlic and olive oil over medium high heat and add the zucchini just before the garlic browns. Add Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper, toss to coat the zucchini and cook for a few minutes. When everything is sizzling, carefully add the white wine and cover the pan to cook for several minutes (if your pan dries out, add a little water to keep it moist and prevent burning). When the zucchini have started to soften, add the tomatoes, a bit more salt and recover. You want the veggies lightly cooked so they are soft, but not mushy. When some of the tomatoes have started to split, turn off the heat and let it cool down.

Beat the eggs and milk with some salt and pepper and a pinch of Herbes de Provence. When the vegetables have cooled slightly, add it to the baking dish and pour in your egg mixture.

Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese, which will give it a nice brown top and carefully place the dish in the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes. It should be firm in the center when shaken but not dried on the edges. It should be nice and puffy when you take it out, but it will sink as it cools. Let it cool and set for at least 25 minutes before cutting. It will also be great the next day.

Bon appétit!

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