Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.
Kitchen people tend to divide themselves into two camps: those who cook or those who bake. The distinction being that bakers follow directions, measure ingredients and thereby do well with the scientific ratios of the pastry world, while cooks tend to improvise as they go, tasting the dish and correcting course as need be, a skill set more suited to the savory side of the menu.
Quiche is the cook’s pastry.
Once the issue of the crust is settled (use store-bought if you find pastry making intimidating), the process is really forgiving. Whatever your preference—more eggs, less cream, a different filling—it’s really hard to go wrong. French quiche tends to be creamier and looser than the American versions, which are generally fairly eggy (think frittata in a piecrust). This easy recipe, with spinach and shallots that give an earthy edge to the filling, falls somewhere in between and makes for an easy dish for laid-back holiday entertaining.
Sparkling wine of all sorts make ideal pairings for quiche—and of course is perfect for New Year’s weekend or, for that matter, any weekend brunch. In our tasting, a crémant d’Alsace rosé provided nice clean balance to the creamy custard, while sweet examples, a Moscato d’Asti and a Lambrusco red, lost their candied edge and became more complex alongside the quiche.
A dry Pinot Gris from Alsace, though, made for one of those pairings that, in the parlance of C&C Music Factory, make you go hmm: The wine heightened the nutmeg flavor in the quiche, while the iron-rich spinach in the filling brought out spice and mineral notes in the wine, making for an intriguing match all around.
Pair with a dry Pinot Gris, such as Jean Albrecht Pinot Gris Alsace Réserve 2010 (89 points, $18)
Total Time: 45 minutes
Approximate Food Cost: $32
- 1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 seed nutmeg, grated
- 1/4 cup comté cheese, grated
- 1 piecrust (store-bought or homemade)
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until soft, around 2 minutes. Drain, then squeeze the excess water out of the spinach.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat a tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the sliced shallots until soft and just caramelized, around 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, mix 3 of the eggs with the heavy cream, milk, grated nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
4. Coat a 10-inch pie pan with butter. Roll or unfold the piecrust and line the pan with the dough, trimming the edges. Spread the cooked spinach over the dough then cover with the grated comté. Pour the egg mixture slowly over the spinach and cheese. Beat the last remaining egg in a small bowl with a fork. Using a pastry brush, baste the exposed crust with the egg wash. Bake the quiche in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the custard has set and the crust has browned. Serves 4 to 6.