Don’t Eat Mushroom Quiche
THEN: When I was in high school my friends and I had a business idea to market a line of Real Men© products. T-shirts and the like with slogans reading Real Men Don’t Wear Coats, Real Men Don’t Cry, and the cliché Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche. We thought we were oh, so clever. I’m pretty sure we started with the Don’t Wear Coats because we saw some macho guy standing out waiting for the train in 3o degree weather trying to pretend it wasn’t cold. The social group I belonged to in high school was – shall we say – of a more intellectual bent vs physical. We pictured jocks buying our merchandise thinking they were cool and not realizing we were making fun of them. Like I said, we thought we were clever. It was a great way to kill some time waiting for the train and I remember laughing a lot. I am reasonably certain none of us knew why real men don’t eat quiche. It was just part of our cultural awareness. There is a decent chance that in high school I didn’t even know what quiche was – something with eggs, right?
That was then.
NOW: I pulled the Morels out of the fridge and there is a stain in the corner of the paper bag. I dump a good chunk of my kids college money into a colander and see that about a quarter of the morels are no longer usable. These mushrooms are for the Morel encrusted quiche Shell that I am making (recipe #106). I try not to think about it too much and throw away the ruined portion of the morels. The crust recipe is a combination of minced morels, crushed saltines, garlic, and butter. I had an inspired solution for the slight lack of morels, I would add more saltines. The goal is to sauté it all and create a mixture that could be spread out in a pie dish and upon cooling would form a crust. I first started trying to spread it out with the back of a spoon. When that didn’t work I just used my hands to smush the mixture around trying to coat the pie crust. No go. I threw the mix in a food processor added some more butter and some more crackers and blended to a sticky paste. I easily spread the mixture into the pie crust at this point, but there wasn’t enough to cover the sides all the way up. I decided that I had diluted the morels enough and that I would just reduce the rest of the ingredients so the mixture didn’t come above the shortened crust. I put the crust in the fridge over night and let it harden. It came out looking beautiful.
There isn’t a lot of story behind making the quiche. It had some great ingredients and I added them all to the shell in sequence. Shrimp, leeks, Gruyère cheese, cottage cheese,eggs and of course butter and cream. I started by cooking the shrimp and leeks in some butter. I had never cooked with leeks before and it was an interesting item to buy. The flavor and texture seemed very close to onion, but milder. I added them to the shell and began grating the cheese.
I added all the cheese ( 4/12 cups) and the cottage cheese over the shrimp and leeks. So much for making a reduced version.
I poured the eggs and cream over the top of it and put it in the oven to bake for about a half an hour. It smelled wonderful while it was baking and what emerged was a gorgeous egg and cheese pie that any man (real or otherwise) would be thrilled to eat.
I don’t know if it is the morel crust, the shrimp and leeks, or the high quality cheese, but this dish was incredible. The recipe says that it serves six, but the four of us (Kira, Melanie, myself and my father-in-law, Ed) manged to finish it off with ease. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. The flavor was salty and potent, but not spicy. Imagine the best omelette you’ve ever had except it isn’t an omelette, it’s a Morel encrusted Shrimp Quiche. Sorry, that’s the best I can do. This dish will be made again after the project is complete.
Recipe #106: Quiche Shell with Morels
Recipe #107: Mushroom-Crusted Shrimp Quiche
Damn Good Book Recommendation of the Day: Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche – A Guidebook to All That Is Truly Masculine by Bruce Feirstein