Cleanup Quiche

Sometimes life gets in the way of the contents of your fridge – as it did for us last weekend; dinner was planned and lunch somewhat, leftovers turned sandwich. And then one thing led to the next and we didn’t eat either lunch or dinner at home all weekend – which was perfectly fine, in fact a lot of fun, but it left me with a fridge full of must-eat-yesterday items that didn’t necessarily fit well together to create one single dish. So I added on here and there with the result that there was dinner in the fridge for every day of this week cooling its heels, waiting to be eaten in “best before” order. As for the clean-up? There were still some items that, when put in a row, looked kind of funny together and could only add up to one thing: quiche. The perfect vessel for hiding showcasing one or two food stuffs that otherwise wouldn’t get anybody excited…but inside a pie – a whole new world.

 

 

The American term “refrigerator pie” might sound a little prosaic, but it fits perfectly. Many things hiding in the fridge that don’t look like much (literally) will make dinner when put in a quiche, and delicious dinner at that. My french friend Anne-Sophie taught me not to bother with eggs and milk, but with eggs and crème fraîche instead, which is entirely good advice. You don’t need a whole lot, it gives the quiche some nice tanginess without being overly rich and it makes wonderfully creamy custard that sets well and doesn’t jiggle when you cut into it and neither does it feel heavy like a block of cheese, as cream based custards sometimes do – just right instead.

For this particular quiche, my fridge told me to use some leftover potatoes that had been boiled in their skins and were still nice and firm; believe you me when I say that these potatoes are worth the trouble to figure out what to do with the odd leftover spud…they’re better than the ones you can get in the store, because they’re organically grown, super fresh and come from Martin’s Dad’s farm – whenever we visit we get a care package home with us….so, potatoes; then an apple and some pancetta and some of the resident hunk of parmigiano, now noticeably smaller than when we came back from our vacation and some fresh thyme from the gigantic plant in the yard that I’m sure starts getting cold feet at night these days – and voila! That’s how quiche happens at my house, most times. Though sometimes, when I get my hands on a nice chunk of Gruyere and some really potent Dijon mustard, all leftover bets are off….

Note: a word about the crust – yes, you should make it yourself; it tastes better, you know what’s in it, which is better for you and it will take only ten minutes to put together, promise. It takes longer to wash your sticky fingers than to knead the dough, at least that’s what it feels like.

Potato, Pancetta and Apple Quiche

dinner for 4
Look here for the recipe for the crust
For the filling:
6 small potatoes, boiled in their skins, peeled and sliced
1 onion
1 apple
100 g (3.5 oz) pancetta or bacon
1 handful walnuts
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
125 g (1/4 lb) parmesan cheese
For the custard:
3 eggs
150 g (5 oz) crème fraîche
1 tblsp flour
125 ml (1/4 cup) milk
salt, pepper
nutmeg if you like it, I do
any herb you like to suit the filling of your choice. Here, I used dried tarragon for its mysterious sweetness
1) Line a tart pan with your crust. Preheat the oven to 180 C (375 F)
2) Chop the onion, the apple and the pancetta. Fry the pancetta in a little olive oil until crisp and remove from the pan. Fry the onion and apple until soft. Season with thyme, pepper and a little salt – careful, the pancetta is plenty salty already.
3) Put the potatoes in the bottom of your crust, add the onion-apple mix, the pancetta, walnuts and on top the parmesan.
4) In a bowl, mix together the eggs, creme fraiche and flour and loosen up the mix with the milk. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add any herbs you like.
5) Pour over the quiche and jiggle it a bit, so that the creme fraiche mix goes everywhere. Bake for about 40 min or until it’s golden brown and delicious.

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