Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Green garlic bacon quiche in a bread bowl

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The first time Michael and I traveled to France together (a long time ago), I learned something important: Michael is a man who eats quiche. Particularly French quiche. Particularly the traditional and beguiling quiche Lorraine, with its bits of smoky ham and creamy-smooth custard, although he might pass that up in favor of a good-looking quiche aux poireaux dotted with slivers of velvety pale-green leek.

The first quiches I ever made used the method outlined in Mollie Katzen's classic, adorable Moosewood Cookbook, a book I got shortly after college, when I was first teaching myself to cook. I was then, as I am now, afraid of rolling pie crust, so I used (sue me) frozen crusts. I filled them with all kinds of things over the years: bacon, spinach, the gorgeous leeks, mushrooms, whatever. The Moosewood custard is tame, hardly French, a nod to the health-conscious Americans who think butterfat will kill them on contact. She uses milk, eggs, and a little flour to build her custard. It's tasty and it's certainly quiche, but it's not French quiche - the quivering, meltaway creaminess that slips coolly down your throat. French quiche can only be made with heavy cream.

A few days ago I wrote about eggs baked in miniature bread bowls in my LA Cooking Examiner column, an idea I saw first on the Noble Pig Vineyards blog. I loved the method and immediately began wondering what else could be baked in bread bowls. Quiche seemed a natural candidate. When Michael tasted the quiche in the photo above, he remarked that the custard had soaked into the little bit of bread left inside the hollowed-out crust as it baked, making the outside very crisp and everything inside flavorful and soft - an effect he liked very much. Have I mentioned he's hard to please discerning? Very hard to please discerning. When he likes something, you know it's a sure winner.

I used green garlic and bacon for this version, and you should too if green garlic is still in season in your area, because it's a spectacular combination. But if you can't get your hands on green garlic, try mushrooms, spinach, or whatever else you usually like in quiche. The method remains the same.

 Green garlic

Green garlic bacon quiche baked in bread bowls
  • 8 small sourdough rolls
  • 1 stalk green garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (you want a mild cheese here; don't overwhelm the flavor of the green garlic with something strong)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice off the top of the rolls about half an inch from the top - not much, really. Using your fingers or a small paring knife (or a combination of the two), take out most of the bread flesh, leaving each roll a hollowed-out shell. Line up the empty rolls on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Divide the green garlic, bacon, and cheese evenly among the hollowed-out rolls. In a measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and cream. Pour the egg mixture into each roll, filling it nearly to the top. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the rolls.

Bake the filled rolls about 30 minutes, until the filling is set and puffed up, and the tops are browned nicely. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 5 minutes before serving. The quiches can be eaten warm or at room temperature; if you keep them covered overnight, warm them in the oven (I used the toaster oven) for a few minutes before you eat them the next day. Because, of course, quiche makes the perfect breakfast, in France or anywhere.


Gaby said...

I love Green Garlic! I have been picking it up at the farmers market the last few weeks and its just soooo delish!!

Delishhh said...

What a great idea! I have never seen this before. and must give it a try. I just posted a Quiche recipe. Check it out here: http://delishhh.com/?p=597

FJKramer said...

I do something similar that I cook in kabocha pumpkins. have to try this out!

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