Friday, April 24, 2015

Real Men Do Eat Quiche - The Promised Quiche of Springtime

Thursday, Day 37 - I am so close to that cruise ship I can taste my first bagel with lox and cream cheese.  But until that happy moment, I promise you quiche, and Ella Fitzgerald singing "All the Things You Are."

You are the promised kiss of springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song ...

I hate when I oversleep, but that's exactly what I did this morning, necessitating what can best be described as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride to SODO.  I realize I am dating myself with the reference to Mr. Toad, but you must remember this - we spent our honeymoon in Disneyworld, which back in 1974 was the Magic Kingdom and nothing else.  I had a 9:45 appointment with (yet another) doctor in Orlando, an area I've always thought of as "The Hospital Zone" because of the jowl-to-cheek juxtaposition of Orlando Regional Medical Center, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children, Winnie Palmer Hospital, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Really an overwhelming collection of  edifices containing really sick people and enough medical personnel to cure a third world nation of whatever ails it.  

Earlier this year, I noticed that this general area on and around South Orange Avenue had been dubbed "SODO".  It took me a few minutes to realize this meant "South of Downtown Orlando", and another 2 seconds to realize how off base the developer had been.  SODO doesn't sound trendy like Tribeca or sophisticated like SOHO, or even charmingly silly like DUMBO.

Not wanting to be slow to SODO, I ran like Jesse Owens and drove like Richard Petty and prayed like Pope Francis that the Great God of Traffic Lights would favor me with fortune.  I made it in just under 41 minutes from sitting up in bed to sitting down in my doctor's waiting room.  And I waited, for her, and while I waited, I thought about food.  Specifically I thought about chicken schmaltz, and that led me to coconut milk and .... well, you'll just have to tune in tomorrow.

When asked if there was something he would like me to prepare for the week his father and I would be gone, Cory suggested "something with asparagus." Huh. Mention asparagus to me and I start dreaming about rivers of hollandaise, but that's a sauce that doesn't hold well.  Cory likes his asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, but we've done that lately.  Risotto?  Meh.  Soup?  Nah.  Quiche?  Well, real men don't eat quiche, do they?

Hell yes they do!  First of all, the book from whence that expression sprang was a satire!  Second, quiche is substantial food, rich and filling.  Why wouldn't a "real" man want to scarf down a couple of slices for lunch, or as a side dish for a more traditional entree like chicken or sliced pork loin?

Anyway, asparagus is one of those foods that has always been associated with springtime, so I wanted to reflect that in the quiche, without sacrificing the flavors that will attract men and women alike.  This is a hearty quiche.

The Promised Quiche of Springtime

4 tablespoons schmaltz and/or butter
4 spring onions, sliced thin
12 oz. sliced button mushrooms
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and sliced diagonally
kosher salt
white pepper

2 deep dish frozen pie crusts (Mrs. Smith's)
2 cups shredded cheese (1 cup mozzarella, 1 cup sharp cheddar)
6 thin slices capacollo,  cut or pulled into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup flame-roasted red peppers (sweet pimento), patted dry, sliced
4 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano

6 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
pinch of nutmeg
dash of granulated garlic

Unwrap the frozen pie shells and let sit on the counter, while you prepare the filling.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium high hear, cook the onions, mushrooms and asparagus until the liquid in the pan just evaporates.  Season with the salt and pepper and set aside to cool.  Divide the mozzarella and cheddar cheese between the pie shells, spreading across the bottoms.  Place the capacollo on top of the cheese.  Carefully spoon the cooled asparagus mixture on top of thecapacollo.  Arrange the slices of pimento over the asparagus.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Pecorino Romano over each pie.  Place the filled pie shells on rimmed cookie sheets (I placed each shell in an aluminum lasagna pan, and it fit perfectly).

In a 4 cup (or larger) glass measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream.  Add some kosher salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, the nutmeg and the granulated garlic, and whisk to combine.  Carefully pour half of the liquid over each pie, and the carefully moved them to the preheated oven.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the custard is set and the crust is golden brown.  Do not overbake.  Allow the quiche to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.  I left the second quiche in the aluminum lasagna pan, double wrapped the pie and then the aluminum pan, and placed it into the freezer.

Both of the real men in my life tasted, scarfed, and heartily approved.

I do have a confession to make. When the asparagus begat the springtime theme, the first song that came to mind was "Springtime for Hitler" from "The Producers."  Try as I might - and when it comes to anything by Mel Brooks, I try really hard - I could not find a nice way to work it in.  I mean, imagine calling this my "Springtime for Hitler" quiche?  Pretty awful.  What is not awful is one of my favorite actors singing what can only be described as the most politically incorrect song in the history of modern cinema.  That is indeed John Barrowman, with his normal good looks marred by the swastika on his armband and the Guy Fieri bleach job.  Never mind all that, he's gorgeous, he's sexy, and he can sing like an angel.  I'd make this quiche for him anytime.

No comments:

Post a Comment