Every once in a while, I want more than a simple sandwich or a soup for my luncheon, even at work. On those occasions, I hearken back to a recipe from my vegetarian days that my mother made for me: broccoli and cheese quiche.
It either sounds overly twee for a weekday lunch (“quiche”) or it sounds like nothing special (“broccoli and cheese”), and yet somehow ends up a little of both. Fresh broccoli is lightly steamed and combined with onions sauteed in a little bacon grease. The smells coming from the kitchen are intoxicating, mostly bacon and onions as the broccoli is not cooked long enough to render its often-unpleasant smell.
A single pie crust’s worth of dough is resting in the fridge, waiting to emerge and be rolled into submission. The oven heats. The kitchen is waiting expectantly to burst into activity. I crack six eggs into a bowl and add a splash of cream, a dash of salt, pepper, paprika, and a grating of nutmeg. Whisking is vigorous but controlled, until the whole mixture forms a kind of creamy, light-golden fluid.
The onions have taken on just a hint of brown from the bottom of the pan, so I turn the burner off and tip them into the bowl with the vibrantly-green florets. I attack the dough. A buttery-rich mass, so simple in its composition of butter, flour, salt, and water, yields under the roller into a pliable, smooth circle. Into the pie plate it goes. I make short and rustic work of crimping the edge, and then tip the veggies into the crust. The eggs pour over, just filling the crust, along with a cup of shredded Emmentaler cheese, a Swiss cheese whose light sweetness balances the heartiness of broccoli and onions. Into the oven it goes.
It bakes for almost three quarters of an hour, puffing up and falling down and browning deliciously. The smell is amazing. And then out it comes, to wait on a hot pad until it cools almost to room temperature. At which time it is sliced into large wedges and boxed up for the week to come, tucked away in the fridge and freezer, ready to re-emerge as a delicious lunch.
[Recipe from Martha Stewart.]