We all know that age-old question. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve sat around trying to come up with a proper, satisfying answer, only to become frustrated at all the different variables and “but”s and eventually just forgotten the whole thing with a glass of wine.
However, if we’re talking about cuisine – the answer is clear. The egg came first. Maybe you’re about to raise your finger in protest, I can see the “but” forming on your lips, but think about it: way back in the day before domesticated chickens, it was easier to collect (or steal) the eggs from the nest than it was to trap a whole bird.
In fact, I’ve read that French homes, up until the early 1900′s often had special bird coops for pigeons and other nesting birds where they would collect the unfertilized eggs for consumption. This was confirmed by a friend who had memories of her grandmother’s coop.
I’ve often wondered why we consider the egg a breakfast food. When I make an omelette or a fried egg for dinner or lunch somewhere in the back of my mind a little bell goes off and says excitedly “breakfast for dinner!” as if I’m doing something out of the ordinary as a treat. And then I learned that eggs for breakfast has roots longer than most royal families – dating back to the ancient Greeks.
So we come to the quiche. In the 60′s the French quiche was apparently quite fashionable in high society American circles. Oddly enough, for the French, it’s just an everyday meal. They’re everywhere from your local bakery to restaurants to the homemade snack – like the one a friend of mine made on a Friday night for us to munch on before we hit the bar.
According to the New York Times the quiche is becoming fashionable again, though for the French, I don’t think it ever went out of fashion. They love their quiche and they love it in a variety of ways. Like the article says, quiche are delicious, but rather ordinary. I have six variations on the quiche already: Cat Day Quiche and Three New Quiche and I can safely say the key to a good one is keeping the ingredient list small. But I’d also like to add that while ordinary, there is something wonderful about a recipe that can be adapted into so many different ways, each time resulting in a warm, slice of flaky, soft, fluffy pie.
Perfect for autumn, this quiche saved me through a crazy school week before vacation. All hail the egg and the quiche that came after.
- 1 shortcrust pastry
- 1 shallot
- 5 button mushrooms or champignon de paris
- 2 cups Swiss chard, chopped and trimmed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 eggs
- 3 tsp crème fraiche
- handful of shredded cheese (I used Emmental, but any mild cheese would work fine)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F
- Rinse all vegetables. Slice mushrooms and mince the shallots and garlic. In an oiled frying pan over medium heat, cook shallots and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add the mushrooms and chard and cook for another 5 minutes until everything has softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Roll out pastry dough and place in a pie tin.
- In a large bowl combine the eggs, crème fraiche, and salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
- Here I put my vegetables on the crust first and spread them out evenly and then poured the egg mixture on top of it. Alternately you can whisk the vegetables in with the egg mixture, but only if they are cooled enough – you don’t want the eggs to start cooking prematurely.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the top has browned a little, the eggs have puffed up, and the bottom is cooked through.