Quiche is one of the favorite breakfast entreés at the Wolf Cove Inn. So much so that my staff is often lamenting that they don’t get any leftovers for breakfast because the guests eat it all! I’ve taken to solving that problem by making sure I make enough to have plenty of leftovers.
Quiche at the Wolf Cove Inn
The Wolf Cove Inn base quiche recipe is adapted from a recipe I experienced at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Cambridge Massachusetts. The biggest adaptation is the elimination of the crust. I offset the lost volume by increasing the amount of custard and filling mix to make up the difference. I almost always go crustless so our gluten-free guests are able to enjoy the quiche. For that matter, we make all our quiches without meat so our vegetarian guests can enjoy the entreé too. In lieu of meat in the quiche, we offer breakfast meats as a side offering.
Farm to Table
I want to take a small diversion from the quiche story to tell you about the pork goodies we serve at the Wolf Cove Inn. We are fans of “farm to table” and do so with our meals whenever we can. We think it’s important because you can shake the hand of the purveyor, support the local economy and you don’t get all those preservatives in your food. And best of all, it just tastes better!
Last year when we first started in our new careers here at the Inn, we were lucky enough to be introduced to Dan, the owner of A Wee Bit Farm. Dan is a retired South Boston police officer (just like my grandfather who we called “Puppy” – that’s him, over there on the right –>.) Dan now spends his days raising grass-fed, free-range livestock at his farm in Orland Maine. All Dan’s products are completely natural – no preservatives. Our guests consistently rave about the Maple Pork Sausage, Bacon, Kielbasa and Rashers (most similar to Canadian Bacon) that Dan provides the Inn. If you are a guest (or would like to be) of the Wolf Cove Inn and are lucky you’ll get to meet Dan delivering his goods to the Inn. Every Tuesday and Wednesday Dan is driving to the four corners of Maine, personally delivering his wonderful products.
Back to the Quiche
The star of quiche is the custard. Moist and creamy are the goals. I never particularly cared for quiche until this recipe I’ll be sharing. They were always store bought reheated things – dry, oversalted and just plain yucky. So when I first tasted the quiche we made at the Culinary School, I was floored by its total yumminess. The crust was excellent, but it was the custard that got my attention. Add most anything you want to the quiche, but not so much that you overpower the custard. This recipe is for our Spinach, Mushroom, Tomato and Onion Quiche with Swiss Cheese.
For the filling:
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms – I prefer crimini
- 1 large, ripe tomato – diced
- 1 large sweet onion, preferably Vidalia – chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the custard:
- 4 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks (save whites – mix with whole eggs when making a baked frittata)
- 2 1/3 cups light cream or whole milk (I prefer light cream)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dash of white pepper
- Dash of nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss Cheese
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Filling – Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add butter and two tablespoons olive oil, coating the bottom of the pan. Heat until butter stops bubbling. Add mushrooms and gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give up all their liquid and begin to brown slightly, about ten minutes. Remove mushrooms to a bowl and set aside. Add one more tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Lower the heat a bit to medium-low and add the onions. Sauté onions until translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir the tomatoes into the mixture and cook until broken down and they’ve given up most of their liquid – five to ten minutes depending on the tomatoes and cooking temp. Add the spinach one handful at a time. Allow to wilt – stirring, then add the second handful and allow that to wilt. Continue cooking for a few minutes more until all the liquid cooks off*. Fold mushrooms back into the mixture and allow to cool slightly.
*Note that if too much liquid is left in the veggies, it will pool at the bottom of the quiche dish when cooking in the oven. Generally this is not a problem when you have a crust, but without the crust to absorb the liquid it doesn’t present as well, though it is harmless. Nothing a few dabs with a paper towel can’t fix.
Custard – Whisk eggs and yolks in a bowl until blended. Add cream or milk and seasonings; completely blend with whisk.
Assemble – Spray a deep quiche dish with non-stick oil. Layer in the veggie mixture. Gently pour the custard mixture over the veggies. Sprinkle the swiss cheese over the custard.
Bake at 350F about 35-45 minutes until the custard is firm but slightly jiggly and the cheese has browned some. Remove from oven when temperature probe reads 160F. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into six portions and serve. If you have some excess liquid, just dab it up with a paper towel.
Now that you’ve made one of these and “wow’ed” your family and friends, experiment with the fillings. Replace the spinach with roasted asparagus (half a bunch). Leave out the mushrooms. Use some swiss chard instead of spinach. Replace onions with leeks. Try different kinds of mushrooms. Add some leftover bacon, sausage, chorizo. Try an Italian blend of cheese instead of Swiss. Maybe some goat or feta in there too? Use your imagination and what you have laying around. Most of all have fun.