Swiss chard and mushroom quiche

Delicious quiche with Swiss chard, mushrooms, and aged Gouda cheese.

A Palatable Pastime
Try an artisanal cheese like Gouda to boost the flavors of a vegetable quiche.

Some people claim they have a “master recipe” for quiche and then go so far as to rattle off a list of various cheeses with every vegetable they can think of. And while those may make some perfectly delicious quiches, I don’t think they are all going to work.

But that being said, there isn’t a whole lot involved when it comes to customizing your quiche. You can make them with crust, or without. I really do love the crust myself.

You really can put just about any meat, vegetable or cheese into a quiche but the vital thing – first and foremost – is that your custard mixture be a workable one. In this recipe I use three large eggs with one cup dairy (and yes, I do use heavy cream) but you can also substitute half-and-half or milk in any amount of dairy fat you prefer. You can also use milk substitutes such as soy milk, but you need to keep in mind that is going to affect the flavor.

Another thing that will affect your quiche is the type of cheese you use. Cheeses are like people and they have many different textures (body types) and personalities (flavor). The texture may affect your baking time if you use something like ricotta cheese as compared to a dry hard cheese such as Romano. And the flavor of your cheese will have an effect on the quiche as well – feta may not be the best choice to pair with sausage and chili powder, for instance. And when using something like an artisanal French cheese you may to ease up on the spices so you can taste the high-quality cheese instead. When choosing your cheese, ask for a sample so you can experience the flavor before you decide what will taste best with it.

This recipe uses Prima Donna cheese, which is an artisanal cheese from the Netherlands. It is a Gouda cheese, but unlike something like Babybel Gouda (which you may like eating with crackers) it is an aged Gouda and is a bit more firm. It is not quite as hard as Parmesan cheese but it does have that type of assertive, aged flavor, so if you can’t find the Prima Donna Gouda, you might want to opt for a cheese such as Parmesan or Asiago.

For my vegetables, I have selected the Swiss chard and added chopped mushrooms and shallot to the mixture, seasoning it with just a bit of salt and pepper and grated nutmeg. This imparts a delicate flavor without overwhelming any of the cheese.

It’s wonderful.

For the pastry, you can go without and it will still bake up, or you can use your favorite single-crust pie pastry or store-bought if you are in a hurry. You can also try other crusts with this, such as a brown rice crust or potato crust, which should be cooked and layered into the bottom of the pan with a bit of butter and par-baked for best results. 

Quiche with Swiss Chard and Mushroom

3 large pastured organic eggs
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces white or crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion or shallot
2 tablespoons butter
5 ounces Swiss chard leaves (no stems), chopped
salt and black pepper to taste
5 ounces Prima Donna aged Gouda cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
Dash nutmeg
1 prepared pie crust or quiche pastry dough

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Beat room temperature eggs with heavy cream in a small bowl.

3. Place pie crust in a deep-dish glass pie plate and crimp edges.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a saute pan and cook mushroom and shallot until browned.

5. Season vegetables to taste with salt and pepper and stir in chopped chard leaves, cooking only long enough to allow them to wilt; cool mixture.

6. Sprinkle about 2 ounces of the cheese in the bottom of the pie crust and spread vegetables over that, then top with remaining cheese.

7. Pour the custard (cream and egg) mixture over all.

8. Make sure the cheese and vegetables are covered or wet with the custard mixture.

9. Dot with butter pieces and sprinkle with nutmeg.

10. Bake quiche uncovered, in a preheated oven, for about 45 minutes or until domed and puffy and custard is set.

11. Allow to sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

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