“Spring is bustin’ out all over,” to borrow and then alter a line from Rodgers & Hammerstein. I may live in Hawaii, where there are only two seasons and the weather is perpetually sunny and beautiful (gosh, I hope you’re still reading this), but I’m not so far removed from my Missouri roots that my circadian rhythm isn’t bustin’ to embrace those spring meals and flavors. This time of year I begin to crave strawberry shortcake and anything else that screams “SPRING!” to me. But don’t actually eat anything that screams, “SPRING!” to you because it is a human and not meant for consumption.
A recipe that works well with spring flavors and seasonal produce is a classic quiche. I love making quiche because they’re easy to prep in advance, make use of whatever’s in the fridge, and are always the hit of any brunch to which I bring them. And I get around. To brunch, I mean.
We call this a kitchen sink quiche because we made it in the sink, and the main ingredient is water. JK, squirrel friends! We call it that for the obvious, cliché reason: we’ll put absolutely anything in it. Living in an apartment with two other cooks means leftovers are constantly languishing in our fridge as we decide to make something new. We forget about the perfectly-good-still (probably) roasted asparagus or half-eaten log of goat cheese. And these ingredients deserve to be eaten because they were expensive. So we put them in a quiche. You know all those random nubs of cheese in your cheese drawer (or is that just us?)? Shred them and throw that in too. Everything short of your leftover Chinese takeout can go in, and I imagine you could convince me of that too. These disparate ingredients, when combined with the correct ratio of egg and dairy custard, converge as something spectacularly brunch- and spring-worthy. Especially because it was so damn easy.
We’ve featured two quiches here: one is a corned beef and caramelized fennel quiche with Irish cheddar cheese, and the other is a haricot vert and mushroom quiche with goat cheese. We repurposed our leftovers from St. Patrick’s Day in the first, and it was fantastic; the fennel is a perfect complement to the strong flavors of corned beef. The second is more common around here. We tossed in some herbs that were headed south but not quite there yet, emptied our cheese drawer, and scattered goat cheese over the top. If you’re going to use a vegetable that retains a lot of moisture (like mushrooms or zucchini) make sure you’ve cooked most of the water out; otherwise, it will prevents your custard from setting completely.
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups half & half
- 1 cup of vegetables and/or meats total
- up to ¼ cup crumbled cheeses if desired (e.g. goat or feta)
- 1 cup cheese, shredded, plus more for the top
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp fresh herbs
- 1 chilled 9” pie crust
- Preheat oven to 400°F. While oven heats, prep your cheese and vegetables/meats.
- Roll out your pie crust and transfer to a 9” pie plate. Crimp if desired and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Once the oven is preheated, par-bake your pie crust for 15 minutes. You can accomplish this either by weighting the crust with a piece of foil and pie weights or dried beans or by greasing a piece of foil placing it firmly against the crust so that it does not shrink while par-baking.
- While it bakes, prepare the custard: in a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, and the dijon mustard and herbs. Incorporate thoroughly.
- Remove the crust from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Place most of the meat/vegetables into the pie dish and sprinkle this with ⅔ of the cheese. Pour in most of the custard. Add the remaining filling ingredients and top with remaining custard. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
- Return quiche to oven and bake for 45 minutes or until quiche is almost completely firm but still wiggles just slightly in the middle. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Depending on your oven, you may need to bake an additional 10-15 minutes, checking periodically.
- Allow the quiche to rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner as the star, or paired as pictured with lightly dressed greens.