I make quiche because my mom makes quiche. My mom makes quiche because when she was 23 and newly married, she got a Bon Appetit cookbook titled “Too Busy to Cook” that advertised “Festive Italian Quiche” as a key to successful domesticity. Over time, the cookbook taught my mom to make a lot more than just quiche. But it also inspired the one trick she still uses today: mixing ricotta or cottage cheese into eggs and milk before baking the quiche.
I remember watching my mom make quiche when I was young, punctuated by my dad singing the B-52’s song, Quiche Lorraine: “Quiche La Poodle is her name. And having a good time on a crummy day is our game.” I didn’t actually like quiche then, was the thing. It seemed too adult, too spongy, too complex. I wanted grilled cheese and pizza and chicken nuggets and hot dogs. When my mom made quiche, my brother and I usually ate something else.
I’m not sure when I decided to like quiche. Maybe it was when I visited France in college or when I discovered that it was an easy way to make something healthy for dinner in Boston. Somehow, though, in the same way I eventually picked up many of my mom’s other preferences and traits (which I swore during my teens that I’d never do), I picked up her love of quiche, too.
Now quiche is my favorite quick dinner. Sometimes I make the pie crust from scratch, but usually I buy it in the frozen section of the grocery store. My own recipe has morphed over the years, turning away from my mom’s ricotta-based tactics into a more freewheeling concept. I usually throw whatever I have in the fridge into the quiche, hoping for the best. Generally, something close to the best happens.
It makes me smile to think of my young mom making quiche in her Boston kitchen 26 years ago, where I lived until I was 2. I live just down the street from where my parents raised me in Boston and I make quiche in my Boston kitchen, too. While I saute veggies and whisk eggs, I hear my dad’s voice in my head singing: “Quiche, Quiche, Quiche come back here. Don’t leave me. I’ll go insane!”
Sometimes, when no one else is home, I sing that song at the top of my lungs, too.
Or “Quiche for my mom”
- 1 frozen pie crust
- 4 slices of bacon
- 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 6 eggs, whisked
- 1 T milk or cream
- 1/2 t dried basil (thyme or oregano also work well)
- 1/3 cup shredded cheese (Any kind — cheddar and gouda and swiss are my favorite. My mom prefers ricotta.)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the pie crust according to its instructions. Usually, this means poking some holes in it with a fork and pre-baking it at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon over high heat until crispy. Remove from the pan, then add the onions and saute them for 5 minutes or until translucent, adding the minced garlic for the last minute. If you want, you can also add other veggies to this saute mix now — mushrooms and spinach and tomatoes re my favorites.
When the crust comes out of the oven, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Layer the veggies on the bottom of the pie crust. Whisk 6 eggs in a bowl with milk or cream, plus 1/2 t dried basil and salt and pepper. Add the shredded cheese to the eggs, then pour the egg mixture over the veggies in the pie shell. Top with crumbled bacon and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the egg bounces back under your finger and there’s no jiggle left when you shake the pan.
Serve a slice of quiche with a small side salad or a drizzle of your favorite sauce. Enjoy!
**You can go wild with variations on this simple quiche recipe. For richer flavors, roast tomatoes and onions at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then add them to the quiche. For a simple and hearty version, try threading the egg with ham and swiss cheese. This recipe is a canvas for any and every flavor you love.