reading

Cooking

Ham & Bits Quiche

 

Mmmm, hammy bits!

I don’t have much of a story behind quiche.  I never ate any growing up.  The closest we got to eggs and a pie crust was a custard-based pie.  It’s not really something redneck southern people eat.  My mom would often make the comment, “You eat some strange $@%# lately, you know that?”  I’m sorry, I didn’t realize quiche was strange.  Or pasta.  Or salads that don’t contain “Bacos.”  You read that right, we ate bacos.

So, my introduction to quiche came late in life.  I was a second-year teacher, going through a rough patch and super stressed out with a principal who didn’t know exactly what to do with my struggling ability to handle 32 eleven year olds in a year where we had too many students and not enough staff.  On weekends, I went away–didn’t matter where–just away, to decompress.  Sometimes on Sundays I would drive the 65 miles up Hwy 17 to Charleston to wander around the local Whole Foods and pretend I was a yuppie in an urban environment.  Then I heard about brunch at a restaurant called Rue de Jean.  The menu is extensive French bistro food, but on Sundays, you can get quiche, french press coffee, and a mesclun salad on the cheap and sit on the patio to smoke and shoot the breeze with people.  I came, I saw, I conquered some French food, and I went home.

The following year, I changed positions, and ended up in a different setting, sharing an office with a teacher who grew to be one of my very dearest friends.  She also happened to be the Mistress of Quiche.   We bonded over progressive politics and for my birthday I savored country ham and cheddar cheese baked into a pie.  I’ve never looked back.  Whenever I need to clean out the fridge, I know what to do.  The standard recipe we tweaked out is below.  You adjust the filling as necessary.  I use the rolled up store-bought pie crusts, and only in a serious pinch will I use the kind in the pie tin.  I don’t make pie crust.  I’m awful at it and my food processor sucks.  You want to eat drywall?  Let me make pie crust.

 

If the crust overbrowns, cover with foil

After-Easter Quiche
by Jason Osborne
serves 4 (one 9″ pie)

One prepared 9″ pie crust
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
pinch of red pepper
pinch of salt
2 cups filling

Preheat the oven to 350. Blind-bake the pie crust for 10 minutes, completely ignoring the package directions. Beat eggs, add seasonings and dairy. Separately, prepare filling. I used chopped city ham leftover from Easter, sauteed mushrooms, and chunks of blanched asparagus. To this, I added several big handfuls of cheddar and I finished off the last bit of grated parmesan I had in the refrigerator. Add the two cups of filling to the pie crust, smooth it out and then pour the egg mixture over it. Put pie dish on a sheet pan and into a 350 oven for 45 minutes or until the center is set. Sometimes the center will be slightly jiggly. That’s ok. As our Lord and Savior Alton Brown says, if it’s done in the oven, it’ll be overdone on the plate.