Caramelizedoniontart rsz

Worth Repeating: Incredible, Edible Eggs

            When all else fails, I turn to eggs for a quick supper. While a tart, quiche or frittata might not work that well for a big family or for one with picky eaters, I think they’re the perfect meal to serve one or two busy/desperate cooks. These easy dishes all use eggs, cheese and milk (or cream), with the main difference being the amount of egg mixture that’s poured into the pastry base: by definition, a quiche uses more eggs, while a tart and a frittata use fewer eggs and generally more filling — spinach, broccoli, mushrooms or onions, to name a few. For a really quick meal, use a prepared piecrust or, my preference, bake with no crust at all. Most of these recipes, which I think are worth repeating, have appeared in in previous articles here or in one or more of my cookbooks (to order signed copies visit www.irishcook.com).

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GOAT CHEESE AND VEGETABLE QUICHE

SERVES 6 TO 8

            This crustless quiche is packed with fresh vegetables and herbs — perfect with a salad, some crusty bread, and a glass of wine.

4 tablespoons olive oil

10 ounces white mushrooms, chopped

5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 scallions, sliced

4 large eggs

1/2 cup half and half

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Salt

Ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, thyme and flatleaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Butter a 9-inch glass pie plate.

2. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoon oil. Cook mushrooms for 2 to 5 minutes, or until soft but not browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl; set aside.

3. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Add spinach, scallions and tomatoes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until spinach is wilted; stir into mushrooms. Let vegetables cool for about 5 minutes.

4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, half and half and mustard; stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper; stir in herbs. Spoon over vegetables in prepared dish to evenly distribute cheese. 

5. Put quiche in center of a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm to touch. Remove from oven; let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into slices. 

CARAMELIZED ONION-SPINACH-BLUE CHEESE TART

SERVES 6

This tart might require some advance preparation, so check your ingredients before beginning.

1 prepared pie crust, such as Pillsbury brand

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 large red onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup crumbled Kerrygold Cashel Blue cheese

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

2 large eggs

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt 

Ground black pepper 

Thyme sprigs, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Slowly unroll crust. Press into an ungreased 9-inch glass pie place. Press crust firmly against side and bottom. Bake for 10 minutes.

2. Remove from oven; let cool for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F.

3. Make filling. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions, thyme, and spinach; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onions are soft but not browned. Add sugar; cook for 5 minutes. Strain off excess liquid. Stir in vinegar. Spread mixture evenly over crust; sprinkle with cheese.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, sour cream, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour over onion-spinach mixture. 

5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden and filling is set. Remove from oven; let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into slices. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

MIXED MUSHROOM FRITTATA

SERVES 4 TO 6

The Italian word “frittata” was originally a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet, anywhere from fried eggs to a conventional omelette. Unlike an omelette though, a frittata finishes cooking in the oven. 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ounce butter

8 to 10 large mushrooms, such as portobello, white, and cremini, chopped 

Salt 

Ground black pepper 

8 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Dash of Tabasco sauce

1 cup grated Dubliner cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil and butter. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard and Tabasco. Stir in cheese and parsley. Pour mixture over mushroom mixture; stir gently to mix. Cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until bottom is set.

3. Transfer skillet to oven; cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until frittata is puffed and golden. 

4. Remove from oven. Loosen sides with a spatula; cut into slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

          Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page occasionally incudes “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order a signed cookbook, visit www.irishcook.com