This Provencal quiche is reminiscent of the flavors & ingredients in a French Pissaladiere, originating in the city of Nice and a very popular pizza found all over Provence and the South of France. The only thing missing is the crust. To quote Patricia Wells, “This beautifully golden crustless quiche makes a great Sunday night supper in front of the fire, served with a zesty tossed green salad and a glass of chilled white wine. I’ve also served it as a sit-down appetizer at a cocktail party.” I know it’s been extremely cold where many of you live and this quiche is a cozy winter dish that's very easy to make and comes together beautifully.
We made the Provencal version with the black olives and anchovies. The onions give the quiche a slightly sweet taste and the anchovies and olives offer a nice balance of flavors. Don’t be afraid of the anchovies. Drained and rinsed well several times takes away the anchovy's heaviness and strong flavors. Just to make sure, I changed the water several times. I recommend using a full flavored yellow onion and personally I think a sweet onion, such as a Vidalia, would make the quiche a tad too sweet, but of course that's up to you.
I used a ceramic tart pan, but after I made the quiche, I found some pictures on Facebook here and it looks like Patricia used a spring form pan lined with aluminum foil when she made hers. I haven’t tried it that way so I can’t attest as to whether the liquid will leak out or not. A rasp is a fantastic tool for grating fresh nutmeg and powdered nutmeg doesn’t even hold a candle to the freshly grated.
I followed Patricia’s advice and served a tart arugula salad, a few grape tomato halves for a burst of color and a nice chilled glass of white wine alongside. I’ve included a recipe for my house French vinaigrette below, which has been a family favorite for many years. Don’t even think of buying salad dressings when it is so easy to make your own. Homemade vinaigrettes always taste far superior to store bought, can be made in seconds, and will keep for days in the refrigerator, so there’s absolutely no reason not to make your own.
Crustless Onion Quiche with a Provencal Twist
From Patricia Wells at Home in Provence – serves 4 to 6
Unsalted butter for preparing the tart pan
1 pound onions, peeled (I used all purpose yellow onions)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, carefully stemmed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
4 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Provencal version directions below (optional but delicious & recommended)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of the baking dish/tart pan and set aside.
Slice the peeled onions in half lengthwise. Place, cut side down, on a cutting board and slice crosswise into very thin slices.
In a large unheated skillet, combine the onions, butter, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Sweat the onion mixture over moderate heat, covered, until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes. They should not caramelize or turn brown. Taste for seasonings and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a medium-size bowl and whisk just to blend. Whisk in the milk and cream.
Transfer the onions to the prepared baking dish, smoothing them out with the back of a spoon. Pour the egg mixture over the onions. Season with additional pepper and nutmeg. Place in the center of the oven and bake until the top is deep golden brown and the custard is firm, about 30 minutes. To test for doneness, insert the top of a knife in the center of the quiche. It is done when the knife comes out clean. Do not under bake or the quiche will be mushy, not firm. Let sit for about 5 minutes to firm up. Serve the quiche warm, cut into thin wedges, with a zesty tossed green salad and a glass of chilled white wine.
|Quiche before baking|
Provencal version: To give the quiche a Provencal accent. just before baking, arrange eight rinsed and soaked (I changed their water several times) anchovy fillets in a pinwheel pattern on the quiche. Separate the anchovies with a pitted black olive.
My Carolina Kitchen’s House French Vinaigrette
By Sam Hoffer – serves 3 to 4
3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon (or more to taste) Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon finely chopped shallots
A pinch of sea salt such as Maldon
A couple of grinds of freshly ground black pepper, plus more for finishing
French Fleur de sel sea salt for finishing
Place all ingredients except the fleur del sel in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until well blended. Vinaigrette will keep several days in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before using. Toss over fresh salad greens, then taste for seasonings and add a pinch or two of finishing salt such as French fleur de sel salt and a few more grinds of freshly ground black pepper.
Sam & Meakin