Media types everywhere are making predictions about what will be trendy in the new year. Is this insightful, or annoying? I mean, the year is only 6 days old and everyone in the food community is all, "This is hot!" or "This is not!" How do they know so fast?
Case in point: the San Francisco Chronicle ran an article last week in which one chef, when asked to predict the coming year's trends, said, and I quote:
"More chefs using duck fat and suet, instead of flavoring sauces with tons of butter."
("I'll take the Eggs Benedict, please, with extra suet in the hollandaise. It's just so yummy.")
But two can play at this game, so here's my prediction for 2009:
From the French Laundry to roaming quiche trucks, from Main Street to (say it with me now) Wall Street, quiche will replace sliders as the overexposed menu item du jour. McDonald's will introduce the Cr'Quichewich and Taco Bell the Quicharito. And bye-bye Aidan, Emma, Sophia, and Jayden, the most popular baby names of 2008. In 2009, it will be...
I don't even have to say it.
Recipe for Caramelized Onion Quiche with Cheddar, Spinach, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
I made this quiche for my annual New Year's Day party and was so frenzied with all the cooking and baking and general mess-making of all the other dishes that I didn't pay as close attention to what I was doing as I probably should have. As a result, my ingredient list is a bit vaguer than normal. I must also give proper credit to Epicurious since Susan Hermann Loomis's Quiche au Fromage served as my inspiration and jumping off point for this recipe.
1 recipe pastry dough, preferably made from scratch (here's my new favorite)
a few tablespoons of olive oil
4 yellow onions, halved and sliced thinly
a few oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (how about 6 to 8), rough chopped
a few handfuls of baby spinach, rinsed
a few handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Roll out the pastry and use it to line to a 10-1/2-inch quiche pan or glass pie plate. Prick the dough all over with a fork and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the lower third, and begin caramelizing the onions.
2. Place a large skillet over medium heat and glug in the olive oil. Add the onions, a good dose of salt and pepper, and let cook, stirring occasionally for even cooking, until very soft, very brown, and very sweet. This should take at least 30 minutes, maybe longer, and it's very important to remember to stir and to adjust the heat as necessary so the onions don't burn.
3. Place the quiche plate onto a rimmed baking sheet. Set a sheet of tin foil over the cold pastry and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the foil and weights/beans, and return to the oven until the edges are golden but the pastry has not completely browned or cooked through. Set aside to cool while you finish the filling. Keep the oven on.
4. Once the onions have caramelized sufficiently, remove them to a plate but don't wipe the skillet. Set the heat at medium high. Add a bit of oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes to the same skillet, and then add your rinsed spinach. Turn with tongs until spinach wilts, which should only take a few minutes. Stir in the tomatoes. Remove the spinach and tomatoes to a double thickness of paper towels, and, when cool enough to handle, squeeze well over the sink to remove any excess liquid.
5. Toss a few handfuls of cheddar onto the par-baked crust. Scatter the caramelized onions over the cheese, and then scatter the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes over the onions.
6. To make the custard, whisk together the eggs, cream, and milk. Season with the nutmeg and with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables until the custard nearly reaches the top of the crust. (You should still have the quiche pan on a rimmed baking sheet.)
7. Bake for 30 minutes, or (and this is very important) until the quiche is cooked through, puffy, and doesn't wiggle when you jiggle the pan. Serve warm.
N.B. If you'd like to make this ahead of time, you may. I made mine 24 hours in advance with great results. Cool the quiche completely to room temperature, then cover tightly with plastic wrap. The next day, slice the quiche while it is still cold, wiping your knife between each cut to keep things as neat as possible. Place in a preheated 275 degree oven, covered with foil, until nice and warm, about 20 to 30 minutes.