Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quiche a la Tomate, Nicoise

After I saw the movie Julie and Julia about Julie Powell cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I really wanted to read MAFC!  I borrowed a copy from my neighbor Barb after she finally located it after losing it for a month.   It’s the “new” 1970 edition that was reprinted in conjunction with the movie.  In this “new” version Julia often gives instructions for using the new kitchen appliances such as food processors. 

As I was skipping from chapter to chapter I decided to try a few of the recipes before I had to give it back to Barb.  There were two recipes I tried, actually one recipe but it has two components.  

First let me say that I learned about Nicoise salad way back when I was a hostess at a very nice hotel dining room.  I had taken the job because I needed more money to live on than I was making as a receptionist at the Park Central Mall in downtown Phoenix, Az.  

In those days if you worked at any kind of a restaurant they had to feed you if you worked more than 4 hours in a shift.  Since I was so very, very broke, that one meal when I worked there really helped!  Even back then I loved good food, and one of the bonuses I gained was learning about some very tasty dishes.  

At that time I had never had anchovies, nor any type of olive other than green olives stuffed with pimento.  Because all of us at the restaurant had to be able to answer questions about the various dishes, we always had to taste them.  At first blush I was not enamored of anchovies.  They were too salty and too fishy for my taste back then. 

Fast forward 40 some years and now I live with a gourmand who loves anchovies in his spaghetti sauce, his pizza sauce, etc.  Most of us find that our taste buds change over the long years and mine are no exception.  I’ve developed a taste for those salty little fish, and as a result pounced on the Quiche a la Tomate, Nicoise recipe on page 148-149 in MAFC. 

I’ve made quiches in the past but nothing like this one.  My first attempt at making it back in November of 2009 resulted in a dish that drew rave reviews, I just wish I could have tasted it!  I had developed a bad case of GERD and couldn’t handle the tomato in the recipe.  Darn!  But my husband, Ken, plus my neighbor Waneta’s son Don, and neighbor Barb all loved it!  

So, today using my very own new copy of MAFC, I decided to make it again and intended to taste it!  But this time I did one thing different with it that Ken had mentioned the when I first made it.  The recipe calls for 1 egg and 3 egg yolks.  Needless to say that wastes 3 egg whites!  I simply used them for washing my breads that I was making at the time as well.   But this time, at Ken’s suggestion, I beat the 3 eggwhites and folded them into the tomato mixture before pouring it all into the pie shell. 

Speaking of pie shell…I have to say I love Julia’s recipe for piecrust.  It’s the best I’ve made.  After reading her chapter on it (starting on page 139 which is Chapter four, Entres and Luncheon Dishes), I decided to make it in the food processor my mother-in-law handed down to me a few years ago.  Wow!  Was it ever easier and tastier than using my pastry blender and the recipe I had used before!   I will admit that I have to clean up all the food processor pieces, but I am learning that is not too big a task! 

Bea's Cuinisart, an oldie but a goodie!

Once the pie dough has been in the frig over night, or in the freezer for an hour, you roll it out and then move it to a quiche pan or a springform pan which is what I use.  I’m still having trouble with the crust slumping during the partial baking phase, but it tastes so good we don’t care how it looks.  I’ll keep practicing it with this and other recipes and finally get the hang of making it look pretty.  Or, I’ll go ahead and get a quiche pan, now there’s an idea! 

Anyhow, I am not going to put the recipe in here simply because I don’t have time to type the entire thing in and it does have multiple steps.  But I will include the pictures I took during the process and brief explanations about them.

Quiche A La Tomate, Nicoise page 148-149

Start by making your pie dough, and after chilling it prebake it in the oven for 8 minutes.  Remember to dock the bottom!  I put a buttered side down piece of foil in mine and put in a package of beans to help keep it from developing air pocket bubbles.

Make a quick fresh tomato sauce mixture by cooking down some good ripe tomatos with onions.

In the tomato mixture you also add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook it down until almost all the juice has evaporated.   The picture below shows how much it had cooked down.   Although Julia says to use a heavy stainless steel pan I used my good old cast iron skillet.

I beat the 1 egg and 3 egg yolks, then added the chopped anchovies (the ones I had were wrapped around capers), oil (including the oil from the anchovy can), tomato paste, oregano, parsley, paprika and cayenne pepper.  I need to add here that I didn't have any fresh parsley which I believe is what she meant.  However, I did have some parsley that I had dehydrated, and I just crushed that with my garden grown and dehydrated oregano.

To all  of this I folded in the tomato mixture.

I beat the 3 egg whites to stiff peaks and then folded them into the tomato, et all, mixture and poured it into the partially baked pie shell.

You can see in this picture how my pie shell slumped in several areas.

 I used oil cured olives that have bits of garlic.  They are delicious in this dish!  You don't need many of these.  The pits are a bit difficult to pry out.  I've found the easiest way is to roll the olive under my chef's knife and "crack" them.  Then  call pull out the pit and use the olive.  Final step is to sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the quiche and drizzle some olive oil on top.

Bake it in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  I found I needed to let it cook for an additional 10 minutes.  I am not sure if that was because of the inclusion of the folded in egg whites or not.

About 5 minutes after taken out of the oven, the quiche will slump a bit.  That's to be expected especially with the addition of the egg whites.

Twenty minutes after it came out of the oven, this one last piece is all that was left!   The quiche, a salad and a glass of our homemade Merlot was all that was needed for a great meal!  Ken really likes it with the beaten egg whites folded in.  He said that it had a lighter texture.  Sadly, Don and Barb were not around to second or negate that comment!  LOL.

I won't downplay the work that goes into this dish.  But I will say it is really worth it if you like anchovies, very flavorful olives, and the taste of fresh tomatos!  Bon appetit!  

1 comment:

  1. Don't you just love the tomato paste in a tube! I always use such a little bit that I waste so much!

    I worked in a restaurant all the way through college and getting a free dinner was usually the only meal I had all day!

    I'll have to try Julia's pie crust recipe, looks fantastic!