From Scratch: Versatile quiche a winner with lunch guests
Last week, a friend asked for suggestions on what to serve to a group of women coming for lunch. After a few minutes of thought, I announced "quiche."
It's a dish that can be made as plain or fancy as you want according to the ingredients you use. I especially like quiche as it can be made ahead of time and tastes even better as it cools and the flavors meld.
Although I've been cooking for a long time, having guests always makes me anxious. I am a firm believer in Murphy's Law — if anything can go wrong, it will — so I usually choose a dish that can be made in advance.
A quiche can be made hours if not days ahead of time. Served with a soup, it makes the perfect luncheon.
I usually make my own crust using the recipe for a single crust on the Crisco package, but a pre-made crust will speed along the process.
You can put almost anything in a quiche, but eggs and cheese are the usual basic ingredients. For the quiche today, I chose broccoli as it is readily available. You can use fresh broccoli or frozen chopped broccoli. If using fresh, you must cook it ahead of time before adding it to the other ingredients.
Because broccoli is a strong-tasting vegetable, I like a robust cheese that can complement its flavor. Good cheese makes the difference between a blah store-bought quiche and a sensational homemade one. I am especially fond of the 5-year-plus aged super sharp cheddar sold by S. Clyde Weaver at the Eastern Market. The Weavers import Canadian cheddar and age it in their own curing cellars, which makes it stand apart from ordinary cheddars.
The quiche takes an hour to bake, so begin a few hours ahead of time and prepare the following ingredients:
1 10-inch deep dish pie shell
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups cooked fresh broccoli well drained and chopped, or 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
4 eggs, beaten
Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the onions and garlic until the onions are golden. Add the chopped broccoli and continue to cook until most of the water has evaporated. Remove from the burner and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cheese, milk, salt, basil, celery salt and eggs and mix well. Add the broccoli mixture and mix again. Pour into an unbaked 10-inch deep-dish pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, and then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes. You can tell when the quiche is done as it puffs up slightly in the center.
Cool for 15 minutes or so before cutting.
— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.