Bill recently asked me to make a Swiss Chard quiche which he said he remembers me doing before.
Honestly, I don’t remember that. Not saying that it didn’t happen, but- I have made quiche so many different ways. The line of quiche in my past is like a blur, like dominoes standing in line to the horizon.
Some people claim they have a “master recipe” for quiche and it goes so far as to rattle off a list of various cheeses with every vegetable they can think of. And while those may make some perfectly delicious quiches, I don’t think they all are going to work.
But- that being said, there isn’t a whole lot involved when it comes to customizing your quiche. You can make them with crust, or without. I really do love the crust though as it adds extra flavor but if you need to cut carbs or fat, well, there it is.
You really can put just about any meat, vegetable or cheese into a quiche and the vital thing, first and foremost, is that your custard mixture be a workable one. In this recipe I use three large eggs with one cup dairy (and yes, I do use heavy cream) but you can also substitute half and half or milk in any amount of dairy fat you prefer. You can also use milk substitutes such as soy milk, but you need to keep in mind that is going to affect the flavor.
Another thing that will affect your quiche is the type of cheese you use. Cheeses are like people and they have many different textures (body types) and personalities (flavor). The texture may affect your baking time if you use something like Ricotta cheese as compared to a dry hard cheese such as Romano. And the flavor of your cheese will have an effect on the quiche as well- feta may not be the best choice to pair with sausage and chili powder, and something like an Artisanal French cheese you may not want to heavily spice, so you can taste the money you invested in the cheese.
Using artisanal cheeses is absolutely fine when making a quiche, as it really doesn’t take more than a few dollars worth to add a good amount, so you really can experiment and explore. Just when choosing your cheese, buy it ahead by a day or so or ask your cheese monger for a sample so you can experience the flavor before you decide what will taste best with it.
This recipe uses Prima Donna cheese, which is an artisanal cheese from the Netherlands. It is a Gouda cheese, but unlike something like Babybel gouda (which you may like eating with crackers) it is an aged Gouda and is a bit more firm. It is not quite as hard as Parmesan cheese but it does have that type of assertive, aged flavor, so if you can’t find the Prima Donna Gouda, you might want to opt for a cheese such as Parmesan or Asiago.
For my vegetables, I have selected the Swiss Chard (by request) and added chopped mushrooms and shallot to the mixture, seasoning it with just a bit of salt and pepper and grated nutmeg. This imparts a delicate flavor without overwhelming any of the cheese.
For the pastry, you can go without and it will still bake up, or you can use your favorite single-crust pie pastry or store-bought if you are in a hurry. You can also try other crusts with this, such as a brown rice crust or potato crust, which those should be cooked and layered into the bottom of the pan with a bit of butter and par-baked for best results.
Quiche with Swiss Chard and Mushroom
- 3 large pastured organic eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces white or crimini mushrooms, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion or shallot
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 ounces Swiss chard leaves (no stems), chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 5 ounces Prima Donna aged Gouda cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
- dash nutmeg
- 1 prepared pie crust or quiche pastry dough
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Beat room temperature eggs with heavy cream in a small bowl.
- Place pie crust in a deep-dish glass pie plate and crimp edges.
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a saute pan and cook mushroom ond shallot until browned.
- Season vegetables to taste with salt and pepper and stir in chopped chard leaves, cooking only long enough to allow them to wilt; cool mixture.
- Sprinkle about 2 ounces of the cheese in the bottom of the pie crust and spread vegetables over that, then top with remaining cheese.
- Pour the custard (cream and egg) mixture over all.
- Make sure the cheese and vegetables are covered or wet with the custard mixture.
- Dot with butter pieces and sprinkle with nutmeg.
- Bake quiche uncovered, in a preheated oven, for about 45 minutes or until domed and puffy and custard is set.
- Allow to sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Yield: 5-7 servings
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