Quiche Lorraine

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

quiche lorraine

 

The name “Vegas” means different things to different people.  To some it means losing a lot of money, to others it means consuming lots of alcohol and dancing in a dark nightclub.  To me, though, it means eating.  Even when I’m on a budget, I never want for interesting new places to experience a meal.  With all the fancy restaurants you can drop your dollars at along the strip, my favorite came as quite a surprise…

In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel, you’ll see a cafe, Mon Ami Gabi.  If you’re like me, you’ll assume that it’s a tourist trap, because it’s under a fake Eiffel Tower and it has a great view of the Bellagio water fountains across the street.  You’ll assume that it’s sickeningly overpriced and sub-par quality.  Hopefully you’ll be dragged in there one time, though, and you’ll realize that all of your assumptions were 100% incorrect.  There, under that Eiffel Tower, I was served the best quiche I have ever had in my entire life and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.  Well, my aunt got the quiche, I got the eggs Benedict, but I wished desperately I had gotten the quiche.  It’s creamy and custard-like, instead of stiff and eggy, and it’s chock full of cheese, bacon and sweet caramelized almost jam-like onions.  I thought I was going to have to beg the waiter to beg the chef for me for the unbelievable quiche’s recipe, but imagine my second surprise of the morning when the waiter brought me a special little card to fill out, to request that the chef send me the recipe.  Clearly, they get asked a lot.  Also, once I received the recipe, I realized why it was so tasty:  there was more heavy cream in it than eggs.  Did I care?  No.  Still easily the best quiche of my life and I have no regrets.

Because this isn’t one of those giant deep-dish quiches, don’t expect to make this recipe to feed a large crowd.  It should serve about 4 if you pair it with a light side salad like they do at Mon Ami Gabi or another side dish.  Or one home cook-blogger and her boyfriend, because it’s not like they didn’t eat enough rich food over the holidays as it was.  Also, make sure to use a shallow, wide bottomed pie dish– the wider the bottom, the more room for that bacon and cheese and onion!

Quiche Lorraine
Adapted from Mon Ami Gabi, Las Vegas
Serves 4

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 pieces bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • about 1/4 cup Jarlsberg cheese, shredded (can substitute Swiss or Gruyere)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • small handful of chopped fresh herbs — chives, parsley and tarragon are a great combination
  • salt & pepper
  1. If you want to save time the morning you make the quiche, cook the bacon and caramelize the onions ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use.  I’m sure you know how to fry up a couple of slices of bacon, but if you’ve never caramelized onion before, it’s quite easy.  I leave a little bit of the bacon drippings in the pan, add the diced onion, sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, very slowly and very gently browning the onion.  The process can take quite a while, but the more you go through the steps and know what to look for, the faster you can go in the future.  The onions will be a very deep brown and, if you put them in the fridge overnight, they’ll turn into a jam like texture.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In the meantime, lightly roll out the puff pastry if it needs it, to better fit the pie plate.  Mine was a square sheet, so I arranged it in the plate, then trimmed the corners off with a knife so that the dough was an even circle all around.  It’s okay if it doesn’t reach the top of the plate like a normal pie crust.
  4. Blind bake the puff pastry — spray a piece of tin foil with non-stick baking spray and place it on top of the puff pastry, with the spray side facing down.  Fill the covered pastry with some sort of weight: rice, dried beans, or specifically designated pie weights.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until fully baked but not particularly browned all the way.
  5. Once the puff pastry is baked, pull it out of the oven (leave the oven on).  Sprinkle the pastry crust with an even layer of the caramelized onion, then the crumbled bacon, then the shredded cheese.
  6. Whisk together the eggs, cream, herbs and salt & pepper (to taste) in a small bowl.  Pour the mixture over the crust and fillings until the fillings are just barely covered.  You may not use all of the egg-cream mixture, just set the extra aside.
  7. Carefully move the quiche to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the filling is dry on top and starting to lightly brown in spots.
  8. Serve warm with a light side salad and enjoy a taste of France!…or Vegas, rather.

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