I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but I can no longer bear to go out to brunch. I hate the long waits and the fact that once you do get a table, your meal proceeds at breakneck speed so the restaurant can turn your table. (I don’t dispute their right to do so. I just don’t enjoy rushing through a meal.)
And then there are the prices. As someone who does a lot of grocery shopping and cooking, I know just how much things cost, and the markups on things like pancakes, scrambled eggs and toast make me a little twitchy.
So these days, I stay home and have people over for brunch instead of meeting at a restaurant. It keeps my blood pressure in check and means that I get to flex some underutilized cooking skills.
In pursuit of brunch excellence, I’ve worked my way through crepes, homemade bagels and English muffins. While I’ve got my sights set on conquering the aebleskiver in the somewhat near future, at the moment I’m focused on making a great quiche. The thing that’s so great about quiche is that it can be made ahead and reheated. Served with a green salad and a slice of crispy bacon, it makes for a fairly fuss-free entertaining experience.
Right now my favorite recipe is this one from Robert Irvine for Spinach Quiche. I skip the bacon, add twice the cheese and bake it in a rye crust that I adapted years ago from 101 Cookbooks. It travels well, reheats beautifully and never fails to receive rave reviews from my brunch guests. If you’re still plotting your Easter brunch menu, I highly recommend adding this one to your Weekender plans.
Before you start baking, read these tips:
— If you want to speed your way to a finished quiche, feel free to use a frozen crust. There are some really good ones out there if you can’t be bothered with homemade pastry.
— If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the step that has you blind bake the crust before adding the filling. It will lead to a slightly more-tender bottom crust, but it’s a huge time saver.
— The filling for this quiche tends to separate during baking. You can avoid that by gently swirling the filling together during the first couple minutes of baking.
— Always bake quiches on a rimmed cookie sheet. They invariably bubble over, and it’s easier to clean a baking sheet than the bottom of your oven.
— For those of you keeping kosher for Passover, swap in a matzo meal crust and this quiche is good to go for you!
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.