Thursday, March 28, 2013

Goat cheese and smoked salmon quiche has a hash-brown crust

I thought I'd come up with an original idea: goat cheese quiche in a hash-brown crust. Inspiration came from a light lunch in a New York City restaurant (the quiche) and a leisurely breakfast at my daughter's apartment (the hash browns).

I Googled "goat cheese quiche" to get an idea of the proportions of egg to cheese to milk, and what popped up? Lots of links to Martha Stewart's goat cheese quiche with hash-brown crust.

I borrowed her recipe for the crust, substituting oil for butter and greasing the pan well instead of laboriously lining it with parchment. (I also used a pie plate instead of Martha's springform pan.) For the filling, I riffed on a recipe I've had for years, swapping goat cheese for the sour cream and adding fresh dill, green onions and smoked salmon. Martha, never one to shy away from excess, calls for 11 eggs in the filling of her quiche. I used four.

You can vary the filling any way you like, perhaps using cooked crumbled bacon or sausage or sauteed spinach or mushrooms or roasted red pepper. Just make sure that you cook the vegetables until as much liquid as possible evaporates. Otherwise, the quiche may be watery.

Yield: 6 servings

16 ounces frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed completely
5 eggs, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, olive oil or melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup milk
6 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
2 ounces smoked salmon, flaked into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a deep-dish pie plate.

Squeeze as much moisture as possible from the potatoes; place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg, oil or butter, salt and pepper. Add to potatoes; mix well. Pat potatoes into pie plate, making a compact, even layer across the bottom and up the sides. Bake until the potatoes are firm and start to brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 4 eggs with the milk. Break the goat cheese into small pieces and add it to the egg mixture, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the dill and green onion.

When the crust is done, remove the pie plate from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Pour the egg mixture into the crust. Scatter salmon evenly into the filling. Return to the oven. Cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield or aluminum foil to prevent burning. Bake until the filling is set, puffed and starts to brown, about 35 minutes. When done, a knife inserted into the center of the filling will come out clean.

Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Note: The salmon, cheese, dill and green onions provide so much flavor that the filling doesn't need salt or pepper.

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