Spring comes slowly in Edinburgh, which is strange, because 90% of the year here seems like it's either autumn or spring. But spring is slow to get off the ground: it starts with snowdrops, which are the only flowers that exist for about a month. Then come the daffodils, which last for another 3 weeks or so, by themselves (we're currently in the middle of daffodil season), then will come the tulips, then some flowery white trees I don't know the name of, and finally the rest of the trees turn fluffy and pink for nearly a month, because apparently 90% of the trees in this town are cherry trees. It's pretty awesome.
I love living in a place that has seasons because I grew up in Florida, where there is only “hurricane season” and “the rest of the year.” But now that I'm grown I miss the constant heat sometimes, and I miss the way every day in Florida feels almost exactly like the day before it, but most of all, I miss the thunderstorms. Florida has amazing thunderstorms, and since it only thunders about twice a year in Edinburgh, I definitely miss them the most.
Anyway, when spring finally comes, all I want to eat for dinner every day is quiche and a green salad. It's my favourite way to celebrate the fact that we're moving away from winter soups and into summer veggies, so when I found a quiche recipe in the box, I knew it was a great time to give it a try. At first I thought it was odd that Eleanor would have saved this quiche recipe-- there aren't a lot of vegetarian meals in the box, so this one stuck out immediately as a little pretentious and a little random for her tastes... but then I remembered that my mom made Quiche Lorraine for dinner a lot when I was growing up, so maybe Eleanor was into it, too? I guess it makes sense: this dish was invented by Julia Child's co-author (and named for her estate), and everyone who cooks loves Julia Child, especially in 1978, which is when this recipe was pulled from an issue of Better Homes And Gardens.
This quiche is perfect for this time of year, because it's lighter than most winter fare but still manages to be hearty and filling. We had it with a spring green salad with lemon vinaigrette and it was the perfect way to celebrate the onset of spring after a long and dark winter. It's time intensive-- probably better for a weekend than a weeknight, unless you really like cooking. And it's really more of a tart than a quiche-- there are only two eggs in it, which seems low when you realise the vast quantities of onion and tomato in it.
Honestly, it's a great dish for anyone who isn't a huge quiche fan, because it tastes more Italian than French, and if you ate it with your eyes closed you could probably pretend it was some crazy variety of pizza.
4 spoons out of five. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not picky when it comes to quiche, so my verdict on this was probably going to be amazing no matter what, but Judson is pretty on-the-fence about quiche, and even he loved it. It's filling but not overly heavy, and if you, like us, live in a land where the calendar says spring but the weather outside does not, this is the perfect meal to make because the veggies it requires are winter vegetables: onions and canned tomatoes, reliably good no matter the time of year.
Notes: You can make this with a bought crust, and that would definitely take off part of the time of cooking it. You can also sub in sour cream or storebought crème fraiche OR Greek yogurt if you're feeling frisky instead of the recipe for crème fraiche that follows below, but in the spirit of making the recipe to the letter, I included the details anyway.
Quiche a la Bramafam
2 c flour
½ tsp salt
½ c butter, cold
2 tbsp shortening or Stork
3 tbsp ice water
(This makes enough for a double crust, so you can halve it if needed, or just freeze half of the dough wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and use it within a month. I made the whole recipe and used half for the quiche and half for yesterday's pie.)
Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl.
Cut in butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture forms very coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the center of the mixture.
Beat together egg and water, then pour into well in flour mixture.
Toss the mixture with two forks until it almost forms a dough, then press it together into a ball with your hands as fast as possible.
rap in plastic wrap or foil and chill 20 minutes in freezer or 90 minutes in refrigerator before using.
The Creme Fraiche:
½ c whipping cream
3 tbsp sour cream
Combine cream and sour cream in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Shake well for at least 30 seconds to blend.
Let stand at room temperature, covered, for a few hours or up to a day, checking it periodically.
t's done ripening when it's slightly thickened and tangy.
½ recipe crust
2 ½ cups finely chopped onions, from about 4 onions*
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
28 oz can Italian tomatoes, cut into small pieces
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp chopped parsley
½ tsp dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp dried marjoram, crushed
½ tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 bay leaf, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
1 recipe crème fraiche, or equivalent in Greek yogurt or sour cream
¾ c Swiss or Emmenthal cheese, grated
*Vidalia would be amazing here, if you can get them.
Line a 10-inch quiche pan or 9-inch pie pan with the pastry crust.
Chill while preparing filling.
Melt butter with the olive oil in a skillet, then add onion and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions form a thick paste.
Add undrained tomatoes and garlic to skillet and boil uncovered 25-30 minutes more, until mixture is a thick paste, stirring and scraping the bottom frequently.
Preheat oven to 400F/204C.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley, thyme, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf.
Combine eggs and crème fraiche in a small bowl, then stir into tomato mixture.
Pour mixture into prepared shell and place on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with cheese and bake 25-30 minutes, until filling is set and top is browned.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired.
Allow to stand 15 minutes before cutting.
Yields 6 servings, perfect as lunch or dinner with a small green salad.