Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Late Summer Vegetable Quiche

I've changed my mind since the last time I wrote about quiche. I spent a couple paragraphs back in January disparaging the idea of crusts. But when I actually ate that crustless quiche, tasty as it was, I missed the extra texture and flavor elements a crust contributes. On the other hand, a proper crust is still a pain in the butt and still likely to end up mushy on the bottom and dried out around the top so I wasn't entirely sold.

But I saw an interesting alternative on an episode of Sara Moulton's new show: Weeknight Meals or something like that. She made a savory version of a graham cracker crumb crust by leaving out the sugar and using a plain cracker. It looked like she used a Trisket or something akin but annoyingly she never showed the actual recipe on-screen and I can't find it anywhere on her website. I think I'm supposed to buy the cookbook. So, failing that I used the whole-wheat flatbread I had on hand--made a cup of crumbs, added four Tablespoons of melted butter and blind baked it for ten minutes at 350 degrees. When I've done this with graham crackers or nilla wafers the crusts held together after baking and cooling, but this one stayed a bit crumbly so I had to move it around carefully. I think the added sugar melted, spread out and held bits together in the sweet crusts. In this case I spread cheese around inside the crust before adding the quiche fillings in the hope that it would melt into the crumbs and serve the same purpose.

Those aforementioned quiche fillings were the last of the CSA squash and eggplant (surprisingly well shredded by my food processor) which I salted, let sit for a half hour and gave a squeeze to get out some moisture and then quickly browned to add a bit more flavor, a bit of ham, some sliced cremini mushrooms and a bit more cheese on top. The quiche itself was five eggs mixed with a cup and a quarter of half-and-half (more or less. It was my leftover milk and cream from my last ice cream.) and I topped it all with slices of tomato.

Here's the result after thirty minutes at 375 degrees and one minute too long under the broiler.

And here's a look at the crust. There's a notable note of the cracker's flavor and few crunchy bits along the sides (as there was no exposed crust during baking). Mainly the crust adds structural integrity which was notably lacking in the crustless quiche I made. My advice at this point is that a savory crumb crust is well worth making but you need to choose your crackers and cheese carefully to match the vegetables. The Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and whole grain crackers I used, although they went nicely together, didn't work particularly well with the eggplant and squash. Probably something in a Swiss would have been a better choice. Still it was palatable enough even if it missed the harmonious synergy I stumbled into last time.

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