One of my favourite things to make currently is quiche. It’s so easy to prepare and can be served on any occasion. Paired with a crunchy salad it makes the perfect light lunch; a hearty slice served alongside a bowl of comforting soup will ‘beef’ up any dinner; and because it tastes just as good at room temperature and chilled it’s the perfect treat for picnics and day-trips. Moreover, in spite of how effortless it is, a quiche has something slightly fancy about it, which adds that special sense of je ne sais quoi to your experience whenever you savour it.
So what are you waiting for? Get out that fluted dish and treat yourself to a quiche! The first time I made this recipe, I was almost out of vegetables and so improvised with an ingredient which may sound unusual in a quiche: potatoes. I combined them with some fresh spinach and onions and, to my great relief, the quiche turned out really, really good! It was hearty and thoroughly filling, and both my companion and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to include it in my regular culinary repertoire.
Potato and Spinach Quiche with Cucumber and Mint Salad
First, peel 5 medium potatoes. Bring them to a boil in salted water, then reduce the heat and cook them for 10 minutes, until they’re almost done. (This will greatly reduce the time you need to bake your quiche!) Drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, make the crust. For all my quiches, I use the pâte brisée recipe I adapted from Julia Child’s Kitchen Wisdom. In a large bowl, press together 2 cups of flour and 170g of chilled butter between your fingers, until you get a coarse mixture. Add 4 tbsp sunflower oil, 1/2 cup icy water, and knead until you get a smooth and elastic dough. Spread the dough out evenly on a buttered quiche dish, and pre-bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.
While the dough is baking, take a generous bunch of fresh spinach leaves and tumble them into a pan with some olive oil. Let the spinach wilt, then remove from heat.
Congratulations! You’ve done the hardest part; it’s all down-hill from here.
Take the dough out of the oven. Slice the potatoes, and arrange them neatly on the crust in two layers or so. Sprinkle with some salt and freshly ground pepper. Cut a few slices off one red onion and arrange the rings on top of the potatoes. Now layer on the wilted spinach leaves. If you like, sprinkle everything with 1 – 2 finely grated cloves garlic and a few dollops of feta cheese (I didn’t have any this time, but it adds so much zing).
Then, in a small bowl, whisk together 4 eggs and 100 ml cream, and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the vegetables in the crust. Place in a pre-heated oven and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes, or until the egg mixture sets nicely.
Your quiche might be lonely without a salad! So why not whip up a quick one while it’s baking with some seasonal salad greens and a simple dressing? For my cucumber and mint number, I tossed together some iceberg lettuce with cucumber slices, and added a handful of chopped fresh mint from my herb garden. For the dressing, I whisked together 1 tsp Dijon mustard with 1 tsp honey and 2 tsp olive oil. The sweetness emphasised the freshness of the cucumber and mint beautifully, and the quiche was in perfect company.