Mushroom, Cheddar & Chive Crustless ‘Quiche’
Don’t you just love it when you find a recipe that’s stellar on its own, but also lends itself to endless variations? It becomes a staple in your repertoire, but the “basics” of the formula lend itself so well to experimentation that you could never have the same flavor combinations twice.
Such is Mark Bittman’s (aka “The Minimalist”) recipe for crustless quiche, which appeared in last week’s NY Times Dining section. The idea itself isn’t all that earth shattering — it’s basically a cheese custard with optional fillings — but the results are delicious. Plus, they puff up like little souffles when you take them out of the oven; you have to love the presentation aspect of that!
Since printing out this recipe when it appeared last week, I’ve already made it three times — twice for lunch, and also as part of a Mother’s Day breakfast for my mom. This past week has been crazy for me; I was out of state for the weekend and earlier this week for work, and now I’m playing “catch up” as we so often do when returning home after being away for more than a few days. This recipe is simple enough to throw together for a delicious lunch, or to make for guests you have over for brunch. You could even whip them up the night before, store them in the fridge, and just bake them off in the morning for breakfast. In the original article, Mark talks about some different variations you could try adding: switching up the cheese, adding some sauteed vegetables, baking it in a single pie dish versus individual ramekins, etc.
For Mother’s Day, I made the basic recipe, using gruyere and parmesan. The original recipe calls for an optional pinch of cayenne pepper, but I love using a little pinch of nutmeg with gruyere cheese — I think it goes well with the nuttiness and butteriness of the gruyere.
Last week, I made some with goat cheese, and my latest variation was mushroom, cheddar & chive: my favorite thus far. What other combinations would be good? I’m thinking a some chopped tomatoes and pesto in the summer; maybe some bacon, jack & scallion; asparagus & ricotta; spinach & feta…yum yum!
Mushroom, Cheddar and Chive Crustless Quiches
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe
Contrary to what’s posted in the original recipe, I found that those quantities made enough for three to four 3/4 cup ramekins or 4.5 inch brulee/gratin dishes (shown in the pictures above.) It all depends how full and puffy you want them to be. Also, he says to heat up the cream/milk before adding it — sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. All that does is help the quiches to cook just a little faster.
If you’re going to bake this in one big pie dish, I would double the recipe.
1 cup cream, half and half, milk, or a combination of those — gently warmed
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
small pinch grated nutmeg or cayenne
handful of mushrooms, sliced and sauteed until brown in a little olive oil
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three or four individual 3/4-cup ramekins or small gratin dishes.
Combine all ingredients and whisk until well blended. Divide the mixture among the buttered dishes and place them on a baking sheet.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and still ever so slightly jiggly in the center. Cool on a rack briefly, then serve them warm or at room temperature.