Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chard & Gruyere Quiche

You know you have a winner when all plates and platters of a certain dish are left with only a few crumbs and your guests are asking where the seconds are. I am not usually a quiche person, but this week I have made this dish twice. That's how good I think this is. I found that you can make this tart a day ahead and warm it in the oven before serving it, taking pressure off cooking right before you have company over. Big bonus!!

So this week was my son's 3rd birthday and I decided it would be fun to host THREE birthday parties for him. Well, not only host, but COOK for THREE birthday parties. I'm a sucker for punishment. One way I stayed sane was to make the same dish (this quiche) for a couple of the parties. To not make things terribly boring for myself and my repeat guests, I changed up the flavors of the quiche. One day it was spinach, another it was chard. One day it was cheddar cheese, two days later it was gruyere. Scallions and then Spanish onion. You really could have a bunch of different combinations for this to keep it fresh.

As the title of this entry implies, the chard, gruyere and Spanish onion version was my (and my repeat guest's) favorite. Feel free to mix and match to appease your taste buds! Make this and serve with a big garden salad and you have a perfect light dinner.

Chard Quiche
Adapted from Bon Appetit (Spinach Quiche), October 1991

My go to tart shell recipe follows this one. If you don't feel confident or have the time to make your own crust you can use pre-made (though this recipe is pretty fool proof!!)

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup half and half (or milk)
3 eggs (I always use extra large eggs for baking because Ina says so)
10 ounces chard, stems removed, chopped, steamed until fully wilted, cooled then squeezed dry (or you can use 10 ounce bag frozen spinach defrosted and squeezed dry)
1/2 cup grated gruyere (you could use cheddar instead)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup finely diced Spanish onion (you could also substitute any type of onion here- scallion, red, white, shallots)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in half and half and eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is set, about 20-25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Simple Savory Tart Shell
adapted from an Ina Garten recipe (I have been using this for a while and don't use the recipe anymore so don't remember what book I got it out of!)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
12 TBS unsalted butter- diced, very cold (keep in refrigerator up until you are ready to throw in the food processor)
3-4 TBS ice water

Place flour and salt in bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to incorporate them together. Add in butter and pulse 8-12 times until butter is the size of peas. With the machine on, add in the water (I do 3 TBS first, then add an extra if I need it). Once the dough comes together in a ball you can remove from food processor and dump it out onto a floured surface. Form into a dish, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350

When ready, roll out dough to about 1/8" thick and place in a 9 inch tart or pie plate. Fit to plate being careful not to pull or stretch the dough, otherwise it will shrink when it cooks. Cut off excess and place a piece of tin foil (with a thin layer of cooking spray on the side that will touch the dough) in the tart pan and then fill with bean or pie weights to ensure the crust doesn't puff up (this is called blind baking). Cook for 20 minutes. Remove the tin foil and beans, prick he bottom of the shell with a fork and cook for another 10 minutes. At this point you can cool completely before filling or finish immediately with the rest of the quiche recipe (don't forget to increase the oven temperature!)

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