What’s for Dinner?
Ham and Leek Quiche
-Maria Helm Sinskey, Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen
Quiche is a great portable meal, with endless possibilities. You can bake it, cool it, and take it with you on a picnic, which is what we often do. Unless you drop it upside down, it is quite durable. This custard filling is incredibly light, allowing the delicate flavor of the leeks to shine. Enlist the kids to help you shred the cheese and swish the leeks clean of grit.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups (9 oz/280 g) thinly sliced leeks
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (6 oz/185 g) diced smoked ham
3 large eggs
1½ cups (12 fl oz/375 ml) heavy (double) cream
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
9-inch (23-cm) partially baked pie shell (page 278)
¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) finely shredded Gruyère cheese
makes one 9-inch (23-cm) quiche
1. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it turns golden. Add the leeks and sauté until wilted but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and turn out onto a baking sheet to cool. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ham.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Season with ½ teaspoon salt, a grind or two of pepper, and the nutmeg. Scatter the leek mixture evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell. Pour in the egg mixture and mix lightly with a fork to distribute evenly. Sprinkle evenly with the cheese.
3. Bake until the custard is set and the top is golden, 40-45 minutes. If the custard is set but the top has not turned golden brown, slip the quiche under the broiler (grill) for 1-2 minutes, watching closely. Let cool about 20 minutes on a rack before serving.
Get creative: Instead of a classic round quiche, divide the filling between two 13-by-4-inch (33-by-10-cm) rectangular, partially baked tart shells. All types of vegetables and cheeses can be combined and used in the quiche filling. It is a great way to use up leftovers. Some of our favorite combinations are blanched cauliflower with Parmesan and artichoke hearts with goat cheese.