I’m always intrigued as to what makes a quiche top notch—which in general, mine are not. But after playing around with a number of recipes, I came up with one that hit the mark; and I think the secret really is the number of eggs—more than I’ve generally used. The rich, creamy cheese custard with a crunchy crust is a winner. With a nice Caesar salad and crusty bread, it makes for a delicious lunch, especially during these nippy days of Fall!
If you visit any one of Tuscany’s Trattorias, you will most likely find this on the menu as a “contorni” or side dish. Leeks, parmesan and a light sprinkling of nutmeg — all the flavors of Northern Italy combine to make this savory pie a wonderful addition to beef or veal. This past weekend, we served this as a side to Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Vinegar to our Oblates on retreat. As we venture into Lent, this meatless side dish could actually become a main dish for lunch. It’s one of my favorite recipes to share with you. Our prayers are with you for a very blessed Lent.
Prepare your filling. Strip away any damaged tough parts of the leek and top extreme ends, and slice the leeks into thin slices.
Put them into a bowl of cold water and swish them with your hand to remove any dirt remaining. Transfer to a colander to drain.
Put the olive oil into a saucepan to heat and add the leeks. Saute gently to soften, and season with salt and pepper.
When the leeks become lightly golden, add the wine and continue cooking over low heat until most of it has evaporated and the leeks are softened. If the leeks are still hard and the wine has evaporated, add 1 cup of hot water and saute for another 10 min. or so until the leeks are soft and there is only a little liquid left in the pan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool slightly.
Lightly whip the eggs in a bowl and add the cream, parmesan cheese and a dash of nutmeg. Add the cooled leeks and stir well. Adjust seasonings if needed.
Pour the mixture into your par-baked crust, shifting the leeks evenly with a wooden spoon.
Return the tart to the oven for about 20-30 min. until the top is lightly golden and the filling is set.
Cool slightly and slice into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.