Wow. Last week we feared this year's garden might be a bust: something is eating the okra, boo hiss; the plants are producing lots of leaves but not much edible. But Sunday morning, the morning's harvest was worthy of a special vegetable quiche, sweet little tomatillos and bell peppers, a couple of miniature zucchini (plus one giant yellow-skinned zucchini!), even a few cherry tomatoes.
The vegetables needed cooking beforehand. I might have sautéed each one individually but decided instead to "flash cook" (often called "blanching") the greens and fresh vegetables in a minimum of water, just enough to cover, well-salted to add flavor. This worked like a charm! The greens cooked first, just until soft but still bright green. Then I cooked the rest of the vegetables, pulling the green peppers out of the water first, the tomatillo second, the larger pieces of zucchini last.
Call me completely thrilled with the results! This recipe makes for a beautiful, healthy breakfast or light dinner. It's an easy recipe to adapt. The "basics" are greens on the bottom, garden vegetables on top, the egg mixture and a bit of cheese. Switch up the greens, vegetables and cheese but add protein, more eggs, etc. This is one flexible recipe!
WORD TO THE WISE The quiche slices are thin, like a frittata, hence only four servings. Since there aren't many calories in a slice, hungry eaters will want more, bacon, fresh fruit or even muffins. What an opportunity to serve a healthy breakfast with room for some indulgent extras!
CRUSTLESS QUICHE with GREENS & GARDEN VEGETABLES
Time to table: 60 minutes
Boiling, salted water
2 cups chopped "greens" such as fresh Swiss chard (pictured), spinach, kale or other tender greens, leaves only
2 cups various vegetables, cut small in varied shapes, such as (pictured) bell pepper rings, tomatillo slices, zucchini diagonal slices
4 large egg whites
3 large whole eggs
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh herbs such as basil and tarragon (pictured), chopped fine
Generous salt & pepper
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
Cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ounces cheese such as fresh mozzarella (pictured), goat cheese, low-fat cream cheese, cubed
BAKE & SERVE
Good finishing salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel
Heat oven to 425F.
VEGETABLES Bring about 4 - 5 inches of water to a boil in a large wide pot such as a skillet or Dutch oven. Drop greens into water and "blanch" just until soft but still bright green. Exactly how long will vary with the kind of green, baby spinach would take the least time, kale the most. Lift out of water, let cool and then squeeze out excess water. Drop in other vegetables, pick out of the water as each variety is done and drain in a colander.
EGGS Whisk egg whites until frothy, this'll give you a one to two minute upper-arm workout if you use a whisk! Whisk in whole eggs until mixture is thick without streaks. Whisk in milk, nutmeg, herbs, salt and pepper.
ASSEMBLE Spray a 9" (or so) quiche pan or glass pie plate with cooking spray. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Spread greens across the bottom, then arrange cooked vegetables on top, then cherry tomatoes. Carefully pour egg mixture over greens and vegetables, filling in all the corners, trying not to cover the vegetables. Tuck pieces of cheese into the vegetables.
BAKE & SERVE Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until eggs firm up and cheese melts. Let cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with finishing salt. Slice and serve.
ALANNA'S TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
It pained me to put the Swiss chard stems aside. It's late for cool-weather greens so the stems were a little bitter to my taste. Earlier in the year? The stems might have been gorgeous though I would recommend cooking the chopped stems along with the other vegetables, versus with the greens themselves.
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