Sunday, April 5, 2009

CSA week 18 - Quinoa-crusted quiche

It's been a while since I've made a quiche. I spent some time last Fall experimenting with crumb crusts trying to come up with something with a good texture that didn't require most of a stick of butter to make. I finally settled on using cracker crumbs mixed with finely grated cheese and blind baked like a pie crust.

So when I finished making beet-top, spring-onion, grape-tomato pizza last night with plenty of each left over (not to mention half a ball of fresh mozzarella), and thought of quiche as a way to use up some more, I wanted to do something a bit different with the crust.

Frequent commenter Kat has made polenta crusts that she's talked about on her blog so I thought I'd try quinoa to see how that might work.

I started by cooking up a half cup of quinoa, mixing it with a quarter cup of panko bread crumbs, salt and a spice blend and letting it cool. Once it was workable, I pressed it into a 9-inch pie pan. It was a little crumblier than I wanted, although it was sticking together, so I decided to pre-bake it. I grated a good layer of pecorino toscano over top before putting it into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. The results were interesting. The cheese melted to form a sort of shellac over the quinoa. I think mixing it in would have worked well, but this protective coating should keep the crust intact.

Meanwhile, for the filling, I fried up a couple thick slices of bacon until crisp, set those aside and sautéed a handful each of beet- and spring onion-tops along with a good bit of parsley. Once those were just about done I added a handful of grape tomatoes to cook just a little bit. I just quartered the tomatoes instead of slicing them as I wanted to have them be distinct chunks in the quiche and not just a general tomatoey flavor thinning out the custard. And finally, I chopped up a thick slice of mozzarella into half-inch cubes, crumbled the bacon and mixed it all together for the final filling.

I decided to experiment with the custard a bit too as I had half a cup of leftover Greek yogurt I wanted to use. I mixed that with a cup of milk, a quarter cup or so of grated cheddar cheese and four eggs for the custard. That turned out to be just a little too much so I wasn't able to get the pan into the oven without spillage, but I didn't lose a whole lot.

I baked it at 375 degrees for 45 minutes and then ate leftover pizza while it cooled because the whole thing took a lot longer than I expected and was getting really hungry.

After 15 minutes of cooking, here it is.

Near the center, quiche and quinoa stayed separate and the quinoa stayed crumbly so it's not much of a crust there. But closer to the edges, and particularly up on the sides, the custard soaked down. It's delicate, but it holds together and I think it'll be firmer once it's cold. The flavors blend nicely too. The soaking in means there's less custard on top so the filling ratio is higher than I was hoping for and it's hard to judge whether the yogurt has any real influence on the flavor. So I'm inconclusive on that part of the experiment. I was worried about the random mix of cheeses, but they're all mild. The bacon smooths over any faults and the quinoa matches well with the eggs and smokiness so, even if there are faults in some specific areas, I'm going to call this overall a success.


LaDivaCucina said...

Great looking quiche! So, if you are not already gone and see this: where do you pick up your veggies? I can ask my friends if they want your share, they enjoyed mine when I was away! Thanks!

kat said...

Good experiment on the crust there. I like the idea of adding yogurt to the filling but it doesn't sound like you could taste any tartness from it.

billjac said...

Kat, the yogurt was fresh so there wasn't much tartness to taste. And with the particular fillings I was using I think that's for the best. If I had tangier yogurt, I think I would have used North African flavors and maybe tried making a couscous crust.

Diva, I don't seem to have kept the e-mail with the exact address of the pick-up spot. It's on SW 24th street, two blocks south of Coral Way and half a block east of 22nd avenue. On the south side. The boxes are stacked under a trellis on a driveway behind a parked car.

LaDivaCucina said...

Bill, i have an idea. If i pick up the veggies for you this sat. and give to you on Sunday will you do the same for me on the weekend of the 18th? I am going away and will be back Sunday night and can pick up on Monday. My pick up is on Miami Beach. I have no one reliable to pick up my share. Let me know....thanks!

Hope you have a wonderful passover.