French Quiche

Some years ago Rebekah and I were in Paris, gathering ideas for new meals to make and to our surprise found inspiration in the ubiquitous French classic, the quiche. We had just left the Picasso museum and we found ourselves in a light drizzle, so throwing on our raincoats we headed out into the streets, but being hungry, we ducked into a nearby bakery right on the corner, that specializes in quiche. The glass case held six different styles, and they were sold by the slice. So we sat outside, under an umbrella in the warm gentle rain and dove into three or four different tastes… their version of the Lorraine, the St. Jacques and the Ratatouille, as well as other versions unique to their bakery. We were astonished at the tastes. The only word that fits the moment is savory. And, of course, romantic in a way that only Paris can be.

So we set out to make a savory version of our own French Quiche, remembering all the different and separate wonderful combinations. But it was Rebekah who decided that this French Quiche was her mission, this was her Quest. And they are fabulous. One of her secret ingredients is a rare wild mushroom called Black Trumpets, which we hunt for in the mountains after the winter rains. The aroma and the flavor is haunting, very much like truffles. These Black Trumpets add an exquisite smoky flavor to these quiches, and they can be ordered from Oregon Mushrooms online. These beautiful French Quiches are perfect for any family celebration or holiday. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Two Quiches

½ of a roasted garlic bulb
1 sweet onion, caramelized
1 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 large cloves fresh garlic
12 ounces baby spinach
8 ounces cremini mushrooms or wild mushrooms like Black Trumpets or Porcini
1 cup Chevre (goat cheese)
2 cups shredded Gruyere, Swiss or Gouda
8 oz smoked bacon
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 pound ground chicken, turkey or pork sausage
12 large eggs (6 for each quiche)
½ cup of buttermilk
½ cup of heavy cream
½ cup half and half (this total of 1 1/2 cups of milk/cream mixture is divided evenly in half, and added to the egg mixture of each quiche)
1/2 teaspoon salt for each quiche
black pepper to taste

Preparing the French Quiche Filling
Roast a whole bulb of garlic in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees for 1 and 1/4 hours. Allow to cool and squish the savory darkened creamy garlic out from each clove.

Caramelize the onion in a 12 inch fry pan, and set aside.

Use the same pan to sauté the baby spinach in olive oil with the fresh garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Saute´ the mushrooms in the same pan with either olive oil or butter. When the mushrooms are almost browned, add the last of the butter and balsamic vinegar. Cook until the balsamic is absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Chop the sun dried tomatoes and sauté lightly with the fresh chopped basil. Please don’t over cook. This should be quick and easy, just to marry the tomatoes with the fresh basil.

Cook the crumbled up sausage and bacon until toasty and done, then chop into small pieces.

Shred the cheese and tear the goat cheese into small pinches to distribute around the quiche mixture.

Crack six eggs into the food processor. Add ¼ of the roasted garlic bulb. Salt and pepper (1/2 tsp salt, black pepper to taste). Mix the eggs briefly using the pulse option, while adding the milk/cream mixture. Do not over mix. Pulse the food processor until you’re satisfied that the eggs are mixed (as if you’re making scramble eggs).

Evenly distribute half of all the filling ingredients in one of the partially cooked pie-crusts. Add the egg and milk/cream mixture, making sure not to over fill the pie pan.

Repeat the above for the next quiche and then put both quiches in the oven and cook for 40 to 45 minutes. Monitor their progress to make sure that they don’t overcook. Stick a knife into the middle to see if the egg mixture is done or use a cooking thermometer to see if interior temperature is at least 165 degrees, but no more than 185 degrees.

For us, quiche is always better after it has cooled and rested, and the flavors marry. It is the perfect meal to have on impulse, like that day in Paris. It’s one of the most romantic meals that we know of.  Serve with a fresh herb salad with balsamic vinegar dressing.

Bon Appetit!