Wednesdays have possessed me. They hang over my head, a black pall of apprehension. I dither away the hours unable to work or read or think. Anxious spells stifle my words, numb my mind; the kind Holly Golightly refers to as the “mean reds.” Outdoors grey skies and the muttering of endless rain exacerbates my overwrought nerves. I crave the solace of food to swipe away this unmanageable terror. So I’ve turned on the oven and brought out the mixing bowl to make a hearty dish. Quiche Lorraine has such history that it can afford contemporaneous variety. I keep mine simple with ham, cheese, and a little dash of scallions. When the aroma of the baking egg seeps from the range door I am transported to lustrous summers in Saint Raphael, sitting by the seashore gazing out at the effervescent Mediterranean. The future was devoid of doubt then, no storm clouds upon the horizon. I recapture those halcyon days when I see the steam rising from my cooling quiche. The warm gooey filling infuses confidence to my ribs. The flaky crust chases insecurity out the window. The grip of the tart as my fork slices through tempts possibilities into being. While not prescribed by a physician, there is a comfort born of yesteryear memories I cannot receive from a pill. With each bite I regress into that starry-eyed youngster, certain that tomorrow will be a promising beginning.
BT’s QUICHE LORRAINE RECIPE
Serves 4-6 Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes [Preparation = 15 minutes, Cook = 60 minutes]
WHAT YOU NEED
8-inch pie dish
1 puff 11-inch pastry sheet
1 cup diced ham
¼ cup diced onion
4 large eggs
5 ounces (150 ml) crème fraîche
3 ounces (100 ml) milk
⅓ cup grated Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons (5 grams) ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon minced scallion tops
salt and pepper
WHAT TO DO
- Preheat oven to 400℉ (204℃).
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Sauté onions for 7 minutes or until they are translucent. Do not allow onions to caramelize. Add the ham to the pan and fry for 5 minutes or until ham is browned.* Set onions and ham aside.
- Roll out the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Press it firmly to line baking dish. Fold excess edges over lip and trim them off. Using a fork prick the crust all over bottom and sides with the tines. Bake for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl combine eggs, milk, crème fraîche, nutmeg, ham and onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture until it is light and frothy.
- Pour the mixture into the pre-baked crust. Sprinkle the grated Gruyère cheese and minced scallion over it.
- Place dish in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the center is set, the edges puffy and the crust browned.
- Let quiche cool for 10 minutes before serving.
* BT Tip: If you wish you can add minced green bell peppers for a crisper texture.