It may not feel like it, but the promise of good weather and spring is just around the corner.
So it’s the perfect time to look at a recipe that’s great for a picnic in the sun – the humble quiche.
I love the flaky pastry, the rich eggs and cheese and my personal favourite, ham. But not just any ham, the finest Iberico. From Spain, this ham has a distinctive and nutty flavour because the pigs are fed on acorns, then the ham is air dried for a minimum of two years. It really is something else.
But there are so many other great cured hams out there and another one for me that still packs a flavourful punch is Serrano ham. It can be found at your nearest good delicatessen and, depending on how much you want to spend, there’s plenty of cured ham waiting to be scoffed.
Although it’s known as a classic French dish, the quiche originally comes from Germany and it means ‘cake’ from the German word kuchen. However, savoury custards in pastry have been a part of English cuisine as early as the 14th century.
The most common quiche today, and most recognisable, is the quiche lorraine. It’s a nice mixture of cheddar cheese and bacon, but sometimes I wonder if this is a bit boring.
The introduction of the imperious Iberico ham and some of my favourite blue cheese really gives this generic recipe a lift. The added ingredients turn it on its head, and I reckon it will turn a few whenever it’s eaten too.
· Kevin Bingham is the chef patron of Restaurant 27 in Southsea. Call (023) 9287 6272.
IBERICO HAM AND BLUE CHEESE QUICHE
Uncooked rice or dried peas
1lb of premade short crust pastry, or make your own
One pint of milk
One 150g packet of Iberico ham, or any ham you choose
200g blacksticks blue, or your favourite cheese
One onion thinly sliced and caramelized with butter
Roll out the pastry until it’s 2mm thick, and fit into your desired quiche baking tray.
Push the pastry right into the corners and leave it overlapping the edge to prevent shrinking when baking.
Put in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Scrunch up a quare of parchment paper, unravel and lay over the pastry.
Fill it with your rice or peas, and blind bake in a preheated oven on gas mark five for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
Afterwards, remove the peas or rice and then paper.
Place in the oven for a further five minutes to dry out.
In the mixing bowl whisk the eggs, milk and seasoning, and put in a measuring jug.
In the pastry, add the onion and blue cheese, followed by your ham.
Pour your mixture on to the quiche until 2mm from the top of the pastry, and cook for approximately 30 minutes at gas mark four.
The custard needs to be set and golden brown.
With a small knife, trim the excess pastry and round off the edge of the quiche.