Here it comes again. ready? New Year, New Me! Welcome to 2019. Anyone broken their New Year’s resolutions yet? If the answer is yes, keep it to yourself. Never admit defeat—prevaricate! Hey, maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution for 2020. I do love to plan ahead. Wait, that’s a blatant lie.
With one fabulous full week of 2019 in the books, I’m already getting behind on projects at the restaurant which must be accomplished as quickly as possible. Yes, I’m already in the weeds and all the little adjustments and changes that need to be accomplished just to keep things running on a day-to-day basis. Wow, I’d almost forgotten how challenging running a kitchen can be … that’s what I said: “almost” forgotten. For as we age (I’d like to think of myself as prime, dry-aged Wagyu beef), we tend to view the past with rose-colored glasses. For instance, I don’t quite recall my back screaming in pain after another six-day, 70-hour week back in the day. But, hey, sink or swim, right? Besides, a cold Cigar City Jai Alai from my tap does have an amazing ability to soothe those abused back muscles.
One of the delicious things I’ve been having fun making during my exciting time in the kitchen is quiche. That’s right, quiche—as in, this is the 1970s calling to say “just have another slice of quiche as you sip your Perrier and watch Billy Jean King play tennis.” To me, quiche is timeless. After all, it is really nothing more than a savory desert food.
Quiche is custard baked in a pie shell. Quite simple and quite darn desirable at the same time. Quiche may seem light and refreshingly healthful, but it’s actually extremely substantial. Quiche is usually enjoyed as a brunch treat, but with a little imagination, this delightful savory pie can be relished any time day or night.
A quiche begins with well-executed pâte brisée dough, a basic French short crust dough. It can be tricky to render correctly for shoemakers but with a little patience and proper technique, making a pâte brisée is a piece of … pie. I’m sure I’ve given you a recipe for this in the past but, like your New Year’s resolution, I’m sure it’s long forgotten. Now just what the heck is custard? A basic custard consists of eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and any savory ingredients you can throw together. The classic Quiche Lorraine version utilizes bacon, onions and gruyère. It’s really hard to beat. We’re talking bacon and eggs for royalty here. Here is my basic short crust recipe, just in case you’ve misplaced it somewhere.
Chef Bill’s Pâte Brisée
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1-1/3 cups butter, cut into small pieces, very cold
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 splash milk
1. In a food processor, mix flour with salt.
2. Add butter and pulse until it’s a course meal. Do not over-process.
3. Pulse in eggs and milk until a dough ball just comes together. Turn out on a table, cut in half.
4. Roll into two disks, refrigerate. This makes enough for two deep-dish quiches. You can freeze the other disk.
Email Chef Bill Thompson, owner of Fernandina’s Amelia Island Culinary Academy, at [email protected], for inspiration and to get Cheffed-Up!