I’m all for seasonal, fresh, local, all that. I’m all for the creative and spontaneous production of dinner based on what looks good, what unexpected or long anticipated treasure has come into the market. But, as George Bush once memorably said, you need to put food on your family (actually he said that Americans work hard to put food on their families, but close enough). And night after night there’s a family around here, waiting for food to be put on it.
So I need a few things in the arsenal, you know? Seasonless cooking that can be reliably produced from what’s usually around and that will please four or five discriminating but varied palates. This quiche is a dish that you can put on your family over and over again and the plates will get scraped clean and there will be cries of “more!” . . . not all of them from the baby. And it’s as easy as . . . well, as easy as pie if you didn’t have to make the crust. My favorite part of this dish is that you just stir the flour into the batter and the crust settles and forms itself in the process of cooking. It’s not flaky or particularly delicate, but it sure taste goods and with a green salad and baguette and a glass of wine (or apple juice, depending on your age and tastes) it’s downright elegant. Elegant enough to be date food, too, if you’re more interested in impressing a potential romantic partner with your ability to just whip something up than your are in nurturing the clan.
I won’t pretend that it’s foolproof. If you, just hypothetically, forget to put in the flour until the quiche has been baking for fifteen minutes and then realize that it looks really, really weird and so try to stir the flour into the curdled egg mass, just say, well, it will turn into a gummy mess. At least I imagine it would. This speculation is NOT based on a true story of course. But with a modicum of attention a few minutes of effort and a few more minutes of baking time, you can produce a dish that’s both comforting and sophisticated.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
If you haven’t done this earlier, dice up some bacon (see below) and fry it until cooked but not crisp.
Beat 3 eggs
Add 2 cups milk, whisk until combined.
Stir in 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese, 1/3-1/2 pound (depending on your carnivorous desires) of diced and pre-cooked bacon and 1 cup flour. Don’t worry about combining them too much. Just give them a reasonable mixing.
Add fresh grated nutmeg (a little), salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a buttered baking dish and cook for about 25 minutes. The quiche is done when a knife or tester comes out clean. On a good day, this quiche is almost souffle-like.
(I’ve considered a vegetarian version, but the bacon is so damn perfect in here, I never get around to experimenting. But I think maybe mushrooms, cooked until the water is completely out of them, would make a good substitute for the bacon.) Also, if you’re an organized sort of person, grate up some extra cheese and cook up some extra bacon and put them in the freezer in plastic container. They’ll defrost quickly when you need an emergency quiche, making all this even simpler.