Friday, April 28, 2006

Quiche aux Fine Herbs (waxing poetic)

The sunlight in East Tennessee is often magical, but it is even more so in the spring. The light is golden, dappled, filtered through the chartreuse new leaves popping out on trees. Suddenly, everyone looks more attractive, the noisy world fades to a lazy whisper, and you are content to do absolutely nothing, other than soaking in this just-warm-enough sun.

Of course, there are ramifications, jolting bursts of reality that shake your sun-addled brain awake. Before you know it, you've ignored your garden for two weeks and there are terrifying new weeds and enormous heads of neglected lettuce taking over. You haven't been to the grocery store in ages, and now you aren't sure what kind of dinner you can cobble together. You are suddenly conscious of your laziness and feel the need to take on a project. You bake bread, making rolls, hamburger buns, a mock baguette. But still the threat of dinner looms. You decide to take on your herb garden and are immediately presented with an answer: quiche.

The recipe varies a bit from my classic mushroom quiche, but of course the idea remains the same. Weed your herb garden, trimming back the fragrant plants, and put those trimmings to good use at dinner. If you have eggs, cream, and a few cheeses, you are already halfway to a simple dinner, made to be enjoyed while cool breezes blow through your tranquil, if only for a moment, home.

Quiche aux Fine Herbs
serves 4-6 (the leftovers are lovely)

1 pie crust, homemade or store bought
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
pat butter
olive oil
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
.5 cup cream
.5 cup 1% milk
1.5 cups of shredded cheese (I used a mixture of Parmesan, Gruyere, and chevre)
small pinch freshly ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp finely minced fresh herbs (I used flat leaf parsley, rosemary, thyme, lovage, and chives)
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick the bottom of your pie crust several times with a fork, and then bake until dry, but not brown (about 10 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Place the butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent and beginning to turn golden brown around the edges. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and eggs until very well combined. Add a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper and nutmeg. Lastly, whisk in your herbs. Sprinkle half of your cheese mix over the bottom of your cooled pie crust. Spread the cooked onions over the cheese evenly, then top with the remaining cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until the surface is a nice golden brown. Remove and let cool for at least 10 minutes (I actually pulled this out of the oven 1 hour before I planned to serve it, and it was perfect). Serve with a crisp green salad and an icy cold glass of white wine. Enjoy your meal, and let yourself slip back into delicious laziness, because the work can wait until tomorrow.


Passionate Eater said...

I love your beautifully manicured toe nails! It isn't sandal-wearing-season in the Bay Area yet, (there are only two weeks in a year for sandals here anyway), but you've motivated me to get a pedicure!

LE said...

Oh, I love quiche so much!

amanda said...

oh i do love a good quiche, and this appears to be a great one. i am definately inspired to make some quiche!

Marianne said...

PE--my toes never look that good, so the moment had to be captured.

Ellie and Amanda--quiche is such a satisfying and easy thing to make. It freezes decently, too, so sometimes I'll make two at once.

Tyler said...

Amanda, I'm so glad you're inspired to make some quiche!!!!

I loved the feet in the grass picture! so heart-warming. I love the summer and everything that signifies its arrival.

Marianne said...

Tyler, I am such a summer girl. Even the brief, relatively mild winter we have here is nearly too much for me, although it does make me appreciate the longer days and warmer temperatures of late spring.

I feel the need to say that is my father's lovely lawn under my feet. Our "grass" is more of a combination of clover, violets, and moss.