Bittman’s Crustless Breakfast Quiche

June 25, 2008

Or, “We can’t all be perfect”.

The Setup:

I watched this yesterday on the NYT site: It is Mark Bittman, (who I love) and he’s a’makin’ a crustless breakfast quiche. Or, er. ‘Quiche’. It’s not a real one but I don’t really care and neither does he. I wanted to make one anyway, because we’ve got too many eggs. Also, there’s the dangling notion that J. (from the comments) put into my head in a conversation we had the other day, where I’d asked him, “What should I write about?” and he’d said I should do good date food. Well. It’s breakfast and I’m hungry and I’ve got my camera out, so this is as close as it’s going to get now. Call it breakfast date.

This recipe is the same as Bittman’s, with, basically, two or three minor additions (yeah, Jon Stewart said differently about Cindy McCain’s controversial, possibly-stolen-from-Hershey’s butterscotch cookie recipe, but I am here acknowledging that my recipe is not original. So there.):

It’s actually in the oven now. Oh man, live blogging. Let’s go back and review the tape, shall we, America?

The Heist:

You will need:

* Three eggs

* About three-quarters of a cup of cheese

* A cup of milk or half-and-half or cream (I used milk. And skim milk at that. Sue me.)

* Salt, cayenne pepper, herbs

* Shallots, broccoli (or whatever you like)

* A greased ramekin

* A lipped baking sheet to put the ramekin on

Reader, consider the egg.

So perfect in form; so delightful in function. Okay, resume considering other things.

As Alton would say, set your hotbox to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, beat the eggs. Bittman puts in a pinch of salt and a tiny semi-dash of cayenne pepper here; I did that and I added some Italian Herbs to that – you know, that little cure-all shaker with the basil, the oregano, the thyme – and whisked that all together.

Then I warmed the cup of milk in a Pyrex, in the microwave – I did it in spurts of ten to fifteen seconds, with maybe the sum total of heating time being about one minute or less. It should be warm, not hot.

Then I tempered the eggs by adding a little bit of the milk – if you add it all at once you’ll make the eggs hot enough to actually start cooking them, and denaturing their proteins and blah blah science blah. America, you already know that, don’t you? Adding hot things to eggs too quickly is bad. Unless that hot thing is a, y’know… a stove. Or an oven. Or something.

I threw some cheese in (Whoo. Semi-generic Mexican cheese blend – the choice of the discriminating consumer!) and then got to thinking about the contents of the fridge; we had some broccoli left over from last night so I thought “Okay! I will create a nice flavor and color contrast by mincing the broccoli and mixing it with some freshly chopped shallots.” That’s kind of the way I think, really. Yes, it will taste good, but ooo look how pretty. What’s more impressive, I ask you, than judicious disposal of leftovers? That’ll impress your, uh, breakfast date.

Although if you’re having your breakfast date at home one presumes the impression has already been made. Hee-hee. Ahem!

Honestly, though – the shallot is pretty elegant. Consider using it.

i dig shallots. They have a nice punch and a wonderful flavor (that will probably be drowned out by the semi-generic Mexican cheese blend. We’ll see. This is how I learn things, you know – by wasting nice food.) that really lends itself to aromatic cooking. Shallots, like onions or leeks, make a really good aromatic base to anything, and I think it’s pretty French to sauté them with garlic and throw in a bit of demi-glace and some tomatoes. I wish I could remember how to make sauce chasseur. OH WAIT, I can remember! Hey, lookit that.

Anyway. Mincey-mincey, mixy-mixy, and then a bit of greasy-greasy (I ask you, where is that Pulitzer?), and you’re good to go.

Pour your mixture into the ramekin or soufflé and throw it in the oven for about twenty to thirty minutes. Since mine’s in one ramekin instead of four, it may take a little longer than that. We’ll see. I’ll get back to you on that. For now, we wait.

Go check out something edifying, in fact, while this bakes. Look around you!


Hm. Well.

It’s really cute!

It worked, kind of. It tastes good! But if I were you I’d stick with Bittman’s recipe and keep it in multiple ramekins, but littler ones than mine. I thhink it’ll take a bit more finessing before this works; the ramekin was too deep to get everything cooked in thirty minutes, at 325 degrees. I upped the heat to 380 and stuck it in for another 10, and it turned out fine. But this isn’t fool-proof date food – not yet. It’s also unattractive when taken out of the ramekin, which is why, I think, Bittman eats it straight out of his.

See? It’s kind of wet. I’ll try two eggs and less milk next time. You can’t always win, America. It was still a pleasant breakfast, but my version will take a little refining. I’ll get back to you.

One of the dangers of live blogging, I guess, is that there’s no opportunity for revisionist history.

-D

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One Response to “Bittman’s Crustless Breakfast Quiche”

  1. Lia said

    Your site is awesome, Dave!

    You’ve done pretty much exactly what I was hoping to do with my blog a few times (but never did).

    I’m not a cook at all, but while I was living alone in Florida for my internship, I taught myself / had my mom instruct me over the phone some simple recipes (stir fry, breaded chicken, banana french toast, grilled cheese, etc.), and I took pictures of the process. I was going to post an entry like “I don’t know how to cook so I assume you don’t either, so learn with me!” but I couldn’t figure out a way to make it either a) useful/helpful or b) funny. So I’m glad you found a way to do both!

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