What food comes to mind most often when planning a menu for brunch? Is it quiche? I’m not surprised. Quiche may well be the most versatile brunch dish. A rich eggy custard encased in a flaky crust, it can be made with an almost endless variety of herbs, meats, cheeses and vegetables. It can also be served hot or at room temperature, making it an ideal choice it you have other dishes on the menu.
We know that bacon can never go wrong, it seems, in any dish; so that’s beyond question in this quiche. But leeks? Probably not high on the list of favored ingredients. If you are not familiar with leeks, they are a member of the onion family and have a mild oniony taste. In most dishes where they are used they sort of blend in and their flavor is hard to identify, but not in this dish. Their mild distinct flavor is noticeable and goes especially well with Gruyère cheese.
My best description for the filling in this quiche is that it is “silky”. The leeks are sautéed in a little butter until tender before adding to the crust with the bacon. Once the egg, milk, cheese mixture is added everything melds together and bakes into a fabulous, silky, smooth custard, with bits of salty bacon throughout.
I made this dish one evening for our dinner and served it with a large mixed vegetable salad. It seemed like the perfect meal. The portion that was left over I rewarmed for lunch, and once again we enjoyed it immensely.
If you are someone who really like leeks, bacon and Gruyère cheese, (or even if you don’t) I encourage you to try this quiche. I think you will be really glad you did.
BACON AND LEEK QUICHE
Yield: makes 6 servings
- single-crust flaky pastry dough
- Smoked bacon, 4 slices, coarsely chopped
- unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp.
- leeks, 2 small, white and pale green parts, chopped
- half and half, 1 cup
- large eggs, 2
- kosher salt, 1/2 tsp.
- ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp.
- freshly grated nutmeg, 1/8 tsp.
- Gruyère cheese, 1 cup shredded
1. Use your favorite recipe for pie dough, or use refrigerated store-bought pie dough. Roll the dough out into a round about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish or tart pan. Trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhanging dough over and into the pan, pressing it firmly against the dough on the sides of the pan; the dough should be doubly thick at the sides and rise about 1/8 inch above the pan rim. Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper, and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375*F. Place the dough-lined pan on a baking sheet and fill the parchment paper with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the dough is set and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
3. While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a fry pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.
Pour out the fat, wipe out the pan with clean paper towels, and add the butter. Melt over low heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.
4. Remove the baking sheet with the tart pan from the oven. Remove the parchment and the weights/beans. In a bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until combined.
Scatter the bacon, leeks, and cheese evenly in the pastry shell.
Carefully pour the egg mixture into the shell.
Return to the oven and bake until the filling is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve.
SOURCE: Comfort Food, warm and homey, rich and hearty, by Rick Rodgers