Monday, January 20, 2014
Mushroom Leek Quiche with Goat Cheese
Last week I made mushroom quiche for our weekly lunch club. And as one of my office-mates took a big, rich bite (accompanied by a big, richness-cutting arugula/squash salad), he sighed in contentment. "Who came up the idea that quiche is somehow not something men eat?" he wondered. "Quiche is good." He went back for a second piece.
It turns out that the branding of quiche as sissyfood comes from some stupid "humor" book of the 80s. And I don't know if it has something to do with that, or the general move away from rich dairyfat and carbohydrates, but quiche doesn't seem to be that popular anymore. Which is a shame. As last week affirmed, a warm quiche, paired with a healthy salad, makes for a fine, fine lunch.
I love a good quiche. And by good, I mean that it has a real flaky butter crust (even with some whole wheat flour added in); a tender, trembling custard; and is filled with both grated cheese and hefty helpings of fresh vegetables. It's good morning or night, and thus routinely makes my short list of food delivery items for friends in the first weeks of parenthood (when the two begin to blend together). Plus it's something that most people don't make for themselves, so it feels a bit special.
I'm a big fan of quiches filled with spinach or chard, complementing the cheesiness with some dark leafy greens. But since I was also bringing a big salad for this meal, I decided to take the quiche in a slightly different direction. I cooked down a whole pound of mushrooms until they were dark and flavorful (and, equally important, had shed the moisture that could sog things up), along with a tangle of softened leeks. And to keep things from feeling too brown, I tossed in a few chunks of tangy soft goat cheese. The resulting quiche is rich, satisfying, and well deserving of a popular resurgence.
Mushroom Leek Quiche with Goat Cheese
1 pie crust, par-baked if you have the patience for it (I made this latest one with a half whole-wheat rough puff pastry)
2 tablespoons butter, plus a few thinly-sliced pats for dotting the top
1 large leek, or 2 small, washed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon high-heat oil, such as grapeseed
1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
1/4 pound Swiss cheese, grated (you can substitute gruyere or emmental)
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled into big hunks
2 cups milk or half-and-half
2 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch white pepper
pinch grated nutmeg
handful chives, minced (optional)
Melt the butter in a large saute pan or cast-iron skillet over a medium flame. Saute the leeks until well softened, but not browned, ~10 minutes (adjust heat as needed). Transfer to a small bowl, and set aside.
Raise the heat in the pan to high, and add the oil. When hot, add the mushrooms — you don't want it to be more than a generous layer or so deep, so you made to do this in batches. Salt lightly, and cook without moving until the liquid comes out and then evaporates (a few minutes). Stir, and cook the other sides until done. Repeat with remaining mushrooms and additional oil, if needed. These steps can be done in advance.
When you're ready to assemble your quiche, preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Take your (possibly par-baked) crust, and scatter the grated cheese over it. Add the leeks and mushrooms, then top with the goat cheese. You can leave as is, or tumble it up a bit.
In a large bowl, mix together the milk or half and half, eggs and egg yolks, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and chives, if using. Whisk gently, so that the mixture is combined but not frothy. Pour this custard mixture into the quiche shell (depending on its depth, you may not need all of it). Scatter the butter over the top.
Carefully place the quiche in the oven, and bake until only the center inch or so wiggles when you nudge it (about an hour). Remove from the oven, and let set a bit before serving.
at 8:45 AM