Monday, August 29, 2011

Quiche squares: savoury breakfast nirvana

The CSA experiment has gone very well this summer, save for one thing: an excess of leafy greens. I mean, I love wilted greens with a little garlic and olive oil, don't get me wrong, but when almost every week includes a bunch of kale, a head of bok choy, AND beets that come with their luxuriant leafy tops still attached, the green scene can get a little out of hand. A couple of days ago I was wracking my brain for new ways to ingest these greens that don't involve soup (it's still summer!) or eating them plain and wilted as a side dish (been there, done that, ad infinitum) when quiche squares popped into my head.

I think it's possible that I've seen this idea online somewhere, and it sounded amazing, so that's what I planned for when I made my weekly grocery list and meal plan. Yesterday seemed like a good time to prep a few days' worth of breakfasts, so I washed and chopped a huge bag of beet greens and a bundle of Red Russian kale, sliced up a bunch of red scallions and their green tops, and sauteed the whole thing down in a tablespoon of sunflower oil and a little salt.

Meanwhile, I grabbed the laptop, intending to find a recipe online to use as a guideline. As it happened, at that moment the house internet was down (I think we need a new router) and Chris was busy scraping plaster off the bedroom floor in preparation for installation of laminate, so I didn't want to bug him to reset the network. I could have done it myself, but instead I recalled that I own approximately seven hundred cookbooks and one of them was bound to have a recipe for quiche in it.

I went to the most obvious choice first: the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that P-squared got me for Christmas. Sure enough, they had an adaptable quiche recipe. All I really wanted were proportions of eggs to milk and fillings, and once I figured that part out, I was free to improvise.

For one thing, I already knew I wanted to use a big 11x13 Pyrex lasagna pan to bake this sucker. For another, I wanted it to be crustless, so no fussing about with pastry was required. I cracked eggs, chopped two leftover grilled chorizo sausages from our camping trip, grated parmesan, added a combo of milk and soymilk (so as not to overwhelm my gut OR use up all of my milk or Chris' at once) and a tablespoon of flour for stability, and went to town. Wilted veg went into the buttered pan, I poured the egg/cheese/sausage/milk mis over it, and into the oven at 325 for an hour.

Well. The results smelled and looked so good that I wanted to skip dinner and just eat breakfast. I did force myself to wait, and this morning I sliced it into ten rectangles and brought two to work with me (I break up my breakfast into two meals, so it lasts until lunch).

This thing is a KEEPER. I mean, it's almost infintely variable, but this particular combination is delicious. (I'll probably sub turkey sausages next time, but that's all.) It's salty, but not too salty; satisfying, but not too rich; filling, but not overwhelming. In other words, the perfect portable breakfast item. I am one happy camper.

Crustless Quiche Squares (10 servings)

10 large eggs
2 cups milk (regular or soy, any type)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cooked chorizo sausages, diced
8 cups chopped leafy greens, washed
4 scallions, white and green parts sliced separately
2 tsp sunflower or olive oil

In a wok or skillet, saute the white parts of the scallions until softened over medium high heat. Add the greens and green scallion parts, and cook, tossing, until wilted down and liquid has mostly cooked off. Drain in a colander. Spread evenly in a buttered 11x13 pan.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk and flour together until smooth, then add cheese and sausage, and combine. Pour over greens. Bake at 325 F for one hour or until lightly browned at edges, and set in the middle. Cool on a rack, then slice into ten rectangles. Serve warm or cold. Can be gently microwaved, covered.

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