Why It Works
- This quiche is loaded with a full pound and a half of kale, a great way to use a large bunch.
- 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.
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.
1 large bunch (about 1 1/2 pounds) kale, thick stalks discarded, leaves roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 whole eggs
4 ounces grated gruyère or Comté cheese
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 slices high-quality sandwich bread or rustic country bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons butter
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add kale and press down with a metal fine-mesh strainer to submerge. Cook until barely tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Transfer kale to a colander and run under cold water until chilled. Squeeze out excess moisture then transfer kale to the center of a clean dish towel. Roll up towel to encase the kale, then twist the ends to wring out excess moisture. Transfer dried kale to a cutting board and chop into 1- to 1/2-inch pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine half-and-half and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until homogenous. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Add kale, cheese, and nutmeg and mix with hands to combine.
Place bread in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs are achieved. Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or a cast iron skillet with butter. Add bread crumbs and rotate plate while shaking to coat bottom and sides. Discard extra crumbs. Pour kale filling into prepared pie plate.
Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until center is just barely set but still jiggles when touched, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Quiche can be served warm, at room temperature, or straight out of the fridge.
If you have the time and inclination, you could make a true pie crust and par bake it in the shell, using this great, foolproof recipe.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 14g||17%|
|Saturated Fat 8g||41%|
|Total Carbohydrate 4g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||13%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|