I can't remember why Barrett and I bought so many eggs for the party last Saturday. We tossed around a lot of recipe ideas and some of them were lost in the rush to the finishing line on Saturday afternoon. After he left, though, I realized I had over a dozen eggs and a spouse who doesn't like eggs. I also had a half dozen fresh garlic bulbs, which I had intended to make into a kind of garlic whip/terrine. I still think it's a nice idea, something like the raw garlic purée you get in Lebanese restaurant only milder with the lovely fresh garlic. But the party's over and so instead I was looking for a less frilly use for the garlic.
And so I decided to pair these remaindered ingredients together in the form of a quiche. A tomato that one of the guests had left was also tossed into the equation. And in honor of my mother's impending visit I decided to throw in a small tin of anchovies as well. And of course the leftover grated Parmesan was a natural with the other ingredients.
In the end I had a lovely savory tart. When my mother tried a piece last night she didn't even realize there was a whole head of garlic in it: the fresh stuff is that subtle. The boy tried a bite of my piece yesterday and ended up eating half of it. He had a thin slice for dinner last night and managed to scam ANOTHER quarter of a piece from his grandmother's breakfast slice.
I think real boys DO eat quiche after all.
Now that I'm working part time and have a little more flexibility in my life, I've decided to develop my pastry-making skills. When I was first learning how to bake many years ago I could actually make a pretty decent pie crust. But over the years, laziness and the accessibility of pre-rolled crusts have spoiled me and I've lost the touch. And that is a shame. Although a home made pie crust is a bit time-consuming (it's that half hour in the fridge that usually daunts me, the original last-minute-cook) it is so much more beautiful to behold than its industrially produced cousin. And nothing compares to the way it melts in your mouth, buttery and tender.
Fresh Garlic and Anchovy Quiche
For the crust:
1 cup flour
1 egg yolk
6 Tbs / 90 grams unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
1-2 Tbs cold water
This pie crust is shamelessly stolen from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. As mentioned in the book, it works well with a food processor (just as well as I don't have a pastry cutter) and makes a lovely elastic dough. Pulse the food processor with all the ingredients except the egg yolk and water until you have a fine mix. Add the yolk and enough water so that the dough sticks together but is not sticky. The Fannie Farmer says that the dough will form a ball around the blades of the food processor when it reaches the right consistency, but I find that it's already wet enough long before then. Add one tablespoon of water and then open up the machine to see if it's too dry before adding the second one. You don't want to over-process the dough. Form it into a nice ball with your hands and wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Refrigerate at least an hour.
For the filling:
6 eggs plus 1 white left over from the pie crust recipe
1 cup / 225 ml milk
1 small head of fresh garlic
1 small tin of anchovies
2 tomatoes (I only had one, but two would have been better)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
freshly grated pepper
Beat the eggs and white with the milk. Remove the outer layers of the garlic and mince it finely. If the garlic is really fresh you won't need to peel the cloves and in fact it will be difficult to see where the clove begins and the outer casing ends. When it's fresh, it's all good, so just chop it up and add it to the egg mixture.
I rolled out the crust and blind baked it for ten minutes at 180c/350f. You might want to put in dried peas as it will probably swell a bit. Once the pie crust is pre-baked, leave the oven on and remove it. Pour the egg mixture into the pie case. Slice the tomatoes and spread them in the egg. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the mixture. And lastly, strew the anchovies over the egg mixture in a pretty pattern. They will probably fall into the mixture but you never know. In any case, you don't want them clumped in one place, no matter how much your friends love anchovies
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the egg is set. Allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving and enjoy with a nice glass of Italian wine. Unless you are 14 months old, in which case a glass of milk is fine.