PICNIC SIZE QUICHES ARE A SNAP
You’d think quiche would be a summer picnic staple.
In practice, the beloved cheese pies are too darn messy. Cutting one into slices while you’re sitting in the wild or at the beach can be tricky. And if you figure, “Aha! I’ll slice it up ahead of time,” you discover there’s no easy way to transport the individual wedges.
Finally, it’s gotta be served with a knife and fork. No way. Picnics are all about finger food.
This recipe for picnic-size southwestern zucchini quiches provides a snazzy solution to the problem — individual cupcake-sized pies, each one neatly ensconced in its own liner. And making them is a snap because I’ve swapped out the typical labour-intensive pastry pie crust for a crumb crust made with buttermoistened Triscuit crackers. (In fact, any kind of cracker will do. So will bread crumbs.) It’s sort of like a savoury version of a graham cracker crust.
You’re welcome to replace the Monterey Jack with a different cheese and the zucchini with a different cooked vegetable. Just be sure to keep the amounts the same. This filling is poured on top of the crumb crust and baked in muffin tins. Transporting the finished quiches to the picnic is a cinch — they ride in the tins.
I recommend using cupcake liners made of brown parchment paper, if you can find them.
These are versatile, too — delicious right out of the oven, at room temperature, or even cold.
Picnic Size Southwestern Zucchini Quiches MAKES 6 SERVINGS
22 whole Triscuit crackers ground fine in a food processor (about 1 cup) or 1 cup finely ground cracker crumbs of your choice or dried bread crumbs 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided 1 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces) Kosher salt ½ cup finely chopped onion ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking powder 3 large eggs 6 ounces coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 2½ cups) 1 cup whole milk cottage cheese One 4½-ounce can chopped green chiles Bottled salsa as an accompaniment
Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes Preheat oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl combine the crumbs with 3 tablespoons of the butter; toss well. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of 12 muffin tins (1/3 cup) lined with parchment or cupcake holders. Bake the crusts in the middle of the preheated oven until they turn a slight shade darker, about seven minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside, and reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.
While the crusts are baking, grate the zucchini, preferably using the grating attachment of a food processor. Toss the zucchini with ½ teaspoon salt; let drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Working with small handfuls, squeeze the zucchini well to remove the excess water.
In a skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon butter over mediumhigh; add the onion, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, about eight minutes. Add the zucchini and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring, for two minutes.
In a small bowl stir together flour, baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs well. Add the flour mixture and cheeses; stir until combined. Stir in the zucchini mixture and chiles; divide the mixture among the muffin tins. Bake the quiches in the middle of the oven until the tops are puffed and golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Eat right away (if not taking to a picnic), or let cool and then chill, covered with plastic wrap, leaving the quiches in the muffin tin. To serve, carry the quiches to the picnic in the muffin tin and serve, topping each with a spoonful of salsa.
Per serving: 340 calories (190 from fat); 21 grams fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 156 milligrams cholesterol; 593 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrate; 2 g fibre; 3 g sugar; 17 g protein.
Transporting the finished quiches to the picnic is a cinch — they ride in the tins.