22nd June 2016
Ben strongly believes 2016 will be the year of the QUICHE.
I’m not entirely sure why I need to justify my love of quiche… but I have been asked to and so I shall.
Quite simply, it’s a dish perfect for all occasions… whether you’re looking for a light lunch at home on the weekends, an item to pack into your lunchbox or even as something a little more substantial for dinner with an impressive array of salads/ a serving of ratatouille… it always hits the spot.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a bowl of soup, a sandwich, a wrap or a sausage roll but very few options are quite so versatile and appropriate for quite so many situations! In fact, as I type this blog from a balcony at Cannes in France whilst getting ready for our SORTEDfood Beach Party with YouTube at #CannesLions Festival I’m even distracting myself with the thought of where the nearest quiche might be… a perfect bite to eat as a late lunch!
Under no circumstances should quiche be overlooked because there’s a reason it’s stood the test of time. So often at the buffet table or on a menu it’s considered the boring or safe option. I can understand this if you are in France and just about every café, deli and brasserie has it available should you want a slice. But anywhere else… it should be celebrated, after all it’s still being baked hundreds of years after its origination.
Although the term quiche first appeared in print only in the 1800’s, similar dishes had been cooked (both savoury and sweet versions with honey and saffron instead of cheese, salt and pepper) as early as the 1400’s both in France, where it originated, and the UK. Apparently, Henry IV was served something that we’d now consider to be a quiche on his coronation in 1399! So there.
I get a lot of stick for them at SORTD HQ and not even just with quiche anymore. In fact, any baked egg dish… a frittata, a tortilla, an egg custard tart and even the likes of a soufflé are swiftly compared to a quiche and judgement is passed long before they are tasted. For some reason, it’s considered old fashioned or just a bit naff thanks to the fact that it was done to death in the 1970s and 80s. So I understand why its reputation might be tarnished… but don’t judge a book by its cover.
Especially a book written by Bruce Feirstein in 1982 titled: “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”. In a superbly tongue-in-cheek way he suggests that a traditional masculine male figure wouldn’t eat quiche… although might be found to enjoy a slice of Bacon and Egg Pie. However, he then goes on to say that a sensitive New-Age guy would not only eat quiche, but happily take care preparing a homemade one, confidently call it by it’s French name and even wash-up afterwards! So perhaps you should try adding that to your Tinder profile!
Chefs out there will understand where I’m coming from. It may be a classic dish, but it’s far from easy to make a sublime one and therefore quiche becomes a good judge of skill. The pastry should be rich, buttery and crumbly, yet remain crisp enough to cut and hold a slice without it sagging… essential if you’re enjoying a portion at a picnic and your uncouth friends refuse to use a plate and cutlery. The filling should be firm enough to slice neatly, whilst still soft and creamy. The ratio of egg to cheese and milk/cream is a careful balancing act… as is the requirement for seasoning… especially if to be served cold.
Have we got enough quiche recipes on SORTEDfood? Apparently yes, as far as Barry, Jamie and Mike are concerned… but I’d challenge this. We have just one classic quiche, a cheats pastry version, quiche cupcakes and one which is completely crustless. Why is that enough? If we were talking about other categories of dishes then we have stacks more choice… cheesecakes (we have a dozen of those), tarts (again a minimum of 12), homemade pies (20+ on offer). But just a single, lonesome quiche! Undervalued and underestimated in its power to make people smile. The only thing that gives me hope is that on the occasions I have baked one, either for video or for an event we’ve held, they are the first to be scoffed down because actually… everybody loves a quiche!
Eventually I feel like people will come around to the idea that a quiche can be cool again. I mean we’ve already seen the revival of the humble scotch egg… a long lost bar snack that has recently been cropping up on just about every gastro pub menu. Black pudding, duck or chorizo variations, ones similar to our salmon scotch egg and of course our more recent rendition… a sweet adaptation, the Scotch creme egg! Similarly, drinks like Gin ’n’ Tonic, Prosecco and Aperol were all seen as iconic in the 70’s but have come full circle and are bang on trend again. Perhaps 2017 will be the year of the QUICHE!
How do you feel about quiche? Do you agree with me? Is there anything more satisfying than baking the ultimate, crumbly, non-saggy quiche? I think not. Come and chat in the comments on Twitter and Facebook. See you over there.
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