Earlier this week I met some dear friends for breakfast at a small, tucked away French restaurant. There were all different kinds of quiches on the menu, ALL calling out to me. I decided on spinach and at the first bite was not disappointed. The baked custard filling was smooth and rich and each mouthful ended with the round, full flavor of cheese. I had the choice of potatoes or a baby green salad with a vinaigrette. Being breakfast I naturally opted for the salad. Mama used to serve us sirloin burgers or grilled cheese sandwiches sometimes for breakfast if she had nothing else to give us. We often had kind of off the wall meals. Anyway, my breakfast was splendid but it left me wanting more! I wanted quiche for dinner. I wanted more of that baked custard filling and if it was lower in fat, well, all the better! Now pie crust being pie crust I just couldn’t compromise. There’s no substitute for butter or lard. You either eat it or you don’t. But I could certainly improve on the fat content of the filling. And I seriously jacked up the amount of vegetables. Paired with a gorgeous baby green salad for dinner…I was one happy girl! We’re not big meat eaters but we do enjoy a bit of the pig for flavor. Often I use a couple of turkey bacon slices crumbled up. A little finely chopped pancetta rendered is lovely as well. I’m really crazy about those huge boxes of organic greens for cooking and salads. To this quiche I’ve used the entire box of baby arugula, baby spinach or a fantastic blend of baby greens called “Super Greens” by Organic Girl. Infinite kinds of cheeses can be used, the flavors just need to complement the pie. Just because I have Pepperjack and Gorgonzola on hand I wouldn’t necessarily throw both cheeses in. What I did have on hand was two small slices of Muenster, two small slices of Swiss and I cut a bit off of my beloved hunk of Gruyere. The Muenster added to the creaminess we all love and the Swiss and Gruyere both brought strong cheese flavors so not much is needed. Also bringing down the caloric and fat content is the number of eggs. In the deep dish pie I used only two whole eggs. Four fresh egg whites completed the custard. Sharing the plate was my baby romaine salad dressed only with a high quality Greek olive oil, a scant sprinkle of Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. A cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio would have finished off my feast perfectly but being that I’m working on my girlish figure it was non laisse’! Just not allowed!
LEEK AND GREENS QUICHE
yield: one deep dish pie
Preheat oven to 350° if you have plenty of time or 375° if you’re in a hurry.
- 1 deep dish pie shell in pie pan
- 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 3-6 leeks, washed, drained and white part chopped up to light green part
- 1-5oz. box organic greens of your choice
- 1 small handful minced pancetta or ham or several slices of bacon or turkey bacon crumbled
- 2 cups cheese of you choice, finely chopped or grated
- 2 whole eggs plus the egg whites of 3 or 4 eggs, the equivalent amount may be used of cartoned egg whites
- 1 pint half and half, I use fat-free
- In a large pan heat oil and saute leeks until soft and somewhat clear.
- If using ham or pancetta add to leeks and saute until slightly browned.
- While stirring add greens. Keep tossing and stirring so they don’t clump up into one tight mess.
- When completely wilted and cooked, take the pan off the heat and if using bacon add it to the mixture and stir until well blended. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl scramble the eggs to break up and add half and half. Mix well.
- Add egg mixture to greens, add cheeses and mix well.
- Pour into pie shell and bake until golden brown on top and middle is cooked through. It will take about an hour and a half at 350° and about one hour at 375°. It IS deep dish!!