Quiche is a savoury custard pie or tart traditionally served warm or at room temperature. While it must contain eggs and a dairy product like milk, cream or half-and-half and be baked in a pastry crust to make the dish authentic and properly cook, the other ingredients can be comprised of meat, seafood or vegetables or a combination thereof.
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As long as you keep the proportions correct, you can create hundreds of different kinds of quiche by mixing and matching ingredients, similar to how pizzas are made to satisfy personal tastes. Although Swiss, gruyere, Roquefort and Camembert are traditional quiche cheeses, use any natural cheese you like. Processed cheeses are not recommended, as they do not set up well when the quiche is baked and produce a runny filling. Conventional quiche vegetables include onions, tomatoes, olives, leeks, mushrooms, spinach and endive but you can use any vegetable that goes well with cheese and holds up well to baking in a custard filling. The most used meats are bacon, ham, poultry and sausage and the most prevalent seafood used in quiche is shrimp, lobster or crab. Whatever combination of ingredients you choose, keep them balanced to keep the flavours distinct. Many quiche recipes call for a grating of fresh nutmeg, which gives the custard mixture depth and an added layer of taste.
Classic Quiche Lorraine
Named for its region of origin, the Alsace-Lorraine region of northeastern France, this recipe was the first to gain international acclaim. It commonly contains eggs, cream, sautéed onions, Swiss or gruyere cheese, cooked bacon and nutmeg.
Spinach quiche is a good meatless choice that makes a nice presentation as the spinach remains evenly mixed with the custard filling during baking, while heavier vegetables frequently sink to the bottom of the dish. The white parts of leeks, sautéed before adding to the rest of the ingredients, are another good filling. You can make a meatless quiche using only cheeses but the consistency will not be as light as those with vegetable or meat in them.
Meats, such as bacon, ham, chicken, turkey and sausage add good consistency to quiches. Pair them with cheeses of your choice and make sure they are thoroughly cooked before they are mixed with the other components. Cutting the meat into uniform pieces makes the quiche more attractive when it is cut.
Quiche is a great way to use leftover shrimp, crab or lobster, although canned seafood also works well. Seafood quiches frequently substitute cream cheese for natural cheese as seafood has such a delicate taste, it can easily be masked by the taste of regular cheese. Adding a bit of fresh or dried dill to seafood quiche accentuates the natural ocean flavours.
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