Welcome, friends, welcome to 2011! M and I have been blessed this holiday season with each other’s company for 2 whole days in a row, not only at Christmas but here at New Years as well. For me, that means amble reasons to cook for the love of my life; who could ask for anything more?
Breakfast is what we love best and that’s where I do some of my best work. So, for the first entry of 2011, I’m going to share a recipe-in-progress with you that I’ve been working on for the better part of a year. This is not the final form it will take, but it is incredibly good, fun to make, very impressive visually and unbelievably delicious. Ladies and gents, I give you the potato crusted quiche.
Quiche is a member of the custard family, of course, home of everything from crème brûlée to, the savory breakfast sub-species, which includes frittatas, tortas and quiche, among other goodies. Eggs are quite simply a perfect food, and quiche is the best possible savory application I can think of.
As with all things custard, there are a few little touches that will make the difference between good and great; they are:
1. Bring your eggs and cheese out with enough lead time to have them pretty close to room temperature before you mix and cook.
2. Scald your milk before you mix – In a sauce pan, medium high heat, until tiny bubbles form right around the very edges of the milk, then take it off the heat and let it cool a bit
3. Blend, blend, blend! When you combine your egg-milk mixture, the more it is blended, the smoother your custard will be – Use a boat motor if you’ve got one, or a stand mixer or blender of you don’t.
Urban’s Potato-Crusted Quiche
Pre-prep for the crust, the night before you’re gonna cook this up, grate about 2 cups of your favorite hash brown potato; Russets are most traditional, but any high-starch potato will do fine. Put your spuds in a glass storage container and throw that into your freezer overnight.
To make the crust, preheat your oven to 450º F. Take your spuds out and break up any clumps; put ‘em in a stainless bowl. Add a cup or so of grated cheese; Swiss or Mozzarella seem to work best, as they seal up the holes better than most others I’ve tried. Finally, whisk 2 eggs well and add them to the mix. Season as you see fit, with a minimum recommendation of salt, pepper and a shot or shake of Tabasco; (for this one, I used those spices plus onion powder, celery seed, garlic, and oregano.)
Mix everything well, and then sling it into a lightly oiled pie pan. You want a layer about ¼” thick, with no holes; raise your sides about ½” higher than the sides of the pan, to account for shrinkage during blind baking.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes; remove it from the oven, leaving the temp as it was. Check your crust and fill any holes, build the sides back up, etc, as needed to assure that it will hold the filling well.
Minor aside: Y’all will recall I’ve spoken of cook books that I use often? Well, those are the ones that get to hang right by cooking central – And here they are…
Filling: Scald 2 cups of milk, (Or, as you can see here, I used 1 ¾ cups of 2% milk augmented with ¼ cup of sour cream, to make it as rich and naughty as I think it aughta be – When I have it, I’ll do 3 parts milk to 1 part heavy cream for the same reason). Let your milk cool for a while, (And if you’re impatient, put it in a stainless bowl and roll it around the full perimeter every now and again, which will let the heat absorbing capability of the bowl to your advantage).
Whisk your eggs well; once the milk has cooled enough so that it won’t instantly cook your eggs, slowly and evenly pour the eggs into the milk, whisking constantly, until you have a nice blend. Motorboat/blend/mix the whole shebang for a good couple of minutes. Season your blend as you see fit; again, salt and pepper are a must – I added Tabasco, garlic, oregano and sage to this one.
Prep your filling goodies – Classic Quiche Lorraine is simply bacon, Swiss cheese and maybe some chive – I’m working on a southwest theme, so I’ve got Alderwood smoked bacon, aged Washington State University Creamery cheese, jalapeño, cilantro, onion, and dried tomato, (A note on tomato in quiche, etc – I LOVE tomato, but the fact is, even if you core and seed ‘em, they tend to add a lot of water to the mix, and raise a very real possibility of your final product ending up too watery, which is very unappealing – Dried is the answer – They’ll reconstitute beautifully, and add that perfect flavor note without making a swamp outta things.)
Mix all your goodies into your custard and shove it into the oven. Turn the temp down to 350º F as soon as you load ‘er in. Bake for 40 minutes and then take a look – With a good heavy oven mitt, give ‘er a shake – If the center ain’t jigglin’ like jelly, she’s done; pull it out and let it rest for 10 minutes at stove top. Serve with a spoonful of sour cream and a dash of salsa – You can thank me later…