Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Flamiche – Quiche aux Poireaux

Inspired by the Julie/Julia Project, today I’m making a quiche with leeks. Julie raved about it and even said she has been converted into a leek lover whereas she had never even liked them before. I have vague memories of quiches being related to girliness and Frenchiness when I was a kid in the early 1980s when they (I suppose) became popular. I’m guessing the popularity came with the Alice Waters, Chez Panisse gourmet revolution and the girly reputation of quiche was the backlash. Gabriel never experienced those associations and eats Swiss cheese quiches by the handful whenever he’s back in Geneva. I’m sure there’s a McDonald’s somewhere in Geneva but judging by what people munch in the streets, the most popular fast food there is cheese quiche. Looking at the kind of butter and creamfest Julia Child suggested, I used a slightly less buttery recipe for the pie crust. It comes from Nella Cucina by Mary Ann Esposito. It calls for an egg to help bind the butter/flour mixture and uses about half the butter of other piecrust recipes; I omitted the sugar it calls for. The thing is I’ve never noticed the difference between this crust and more buttery ones, so why not use it? The filling is rich enough anyway: leeks cooked down in a bit of water and a lot of butter plus whipping cream, cheese and more butter. I’m not really a fan of low-fat (and certainly NOT of low-carb) but Julia Child’s original recipe seemed more appropriate for dessert than for dinner. So, I made the less-butter crust and I used half cream and half milk in the filling. I have a left-over salad of endive, gorgonzola and walnuts that should round out the thing nicely.
Next day: the result was pretty darn good. The crust was crispy, crunchy and the filling was eggy, creamy. The only thing about this dish is that it's French. This is to say that flavor comes mainly from fat and less from spice. But I love spice! Right now I'm craving a plate of Pad Thai with lots of chili peppers, lemon grass and cilantro!


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