I love eggs, but I tend to appreciate them for what they can do, rather than for how they taste.
They are just so darn versatile! In baking, eggs are used as a binder, they are used to provide structure, they are used to make sauces and custards, they are used as a thickening agent…the list goes on. On the savory side, they can be scrambled, fried, poached, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, and they can be cooked as a serving vehicle for vegetables and cheese (don’t you just love omelets and frittatas?).
Nutritionally speaking, they are darn near perfect: some protein, fat, and just a touch of carbohydrate rolled into a neat little package. Even better, eggs are extremely economical, even when you spend a little more to buy eggs that come from humanely raised, pastured chickens. (If you can’t tell what kind of eggs are at your grocery store, check out a farmers’ market – I often buy eggs from a local Amish family.) Personally, I wish I could stomach eating eggs every day for breakfast, but I’ve yet to recover after a year-long low-carb stint several years ago.
However, I do still find eggs to be a wonderful addition to any brunch menu, as well as being a quick dinner on those nights when you’re exhausted. This basic quiche recipe is a favorite of mine; you can mix up the vegetables and cheese based on what’s in season (or just in your fridge), and because there’s no crust to worry about, it’s perfect for those who can’t tolerate grains. It’s simple to make, can feed a crowd or just one, with leftovers to boot.
2 T butter
8 oz chopped mushrooms
2 sprigs thyme
1 c sliced zucchini
½ c chopped red bell pepper
5 oz pkg baby spinach
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 large eggs
4 oz half and half
4 oz heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella or gruyere
2 T shredded pecorino romano or parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie dish and set aside.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the zucchini and red pepper and cook until tender. Add the spinach and fold to get the warm vegetables on top of the spinach. Cook until it wilts. Transfer the vegetables to the buttered pie plate.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until combined. Whisk in the half and half and heavy cream. Whisk in the mozzarella and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, evenly distributing the cheese as much as possible. Sprinkle the pecorino over the top.
Bake the quiche until puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.