If there's one thing I took away from my month of veganism, it's that kale is one magnificent green. I've got a bit of a kale hoarding problem. When I see it on supermarket shelves or at the farmers' market, I instinctively grab a bunch. Sometimes I call my wife and ask her to pick up some kale on her way home, knowing full well that I'm going to be picking up another bunch myself, all while holding a perfectly usable bunch in my bag.
Having an overflow of kale is not a bad thing, but it does mean that I need to figure out where to put the stuff. This is not a problem. Marinated in salads, grilled, on pizza, braised in sandwiches, simmered in soups and stews, it's just so incredibly versatile and tasty that it's hard to think of a situation in which you wouldn't want to use it.
Quiche is not one of those situations (that is, you wouldn't not want to use it in a quiche—you with me here?). Though a quiche really only has a few ingredients—cream, milk, eggs, pie crust—the concept can seem a bit daunting at first—a delicate custard set in a crisp, tender, and flaky pie crust is a great testing ground for perfectionist technique. And true, a really perfect quiche—one with a moist, barely-set center that jiggles gently under your fork pressure with no hint of curdling and the most delicate scent of nutmeg—is not an easy feat to accomplish.
Then again, not all skates are rollerblades, and there are times when I'm perfectly content to wheel around the block on my good old-fashioned boxy four wheelers.
Quiche at its heart is a rustic dish and for me, part of its charm lies in its imperfections. I like the little brown spots that form on the surface. I like that the edges are a little more well-done than the center, giving you some nice textural contrast from the first bite to the last. Besides, the version here is far more kale than it is quiche. A full pound and a half gets packed down into a single pie. It's a great way to stash an extra bunch when your vegetable drawer is already packed too tightly. (That should be all the time in the spring).
If you have the time and inclination, you could make a true pie crust and par bake it in the shell (here's a great, foolproof recipe), but if quick and easy is your goal, a simple coating of butter and breadcrumbs will keep your pie from sticking to the pan, giving you a nice bit of flavorful browning around the edges.
Finally, cheese is not an absolutely necessary ingredient in a quiche, but it sure makes it taste better and it adds a few extra calories and calcium so you'll be extra energetic for the next round of hide the kale.
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About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.