An old friend of mine has participated in a masquerade for decades: She deceives her family of males by crying, “Ham and egg pie for supper!” all the while acknowledging a quiche will emerge from her oven.
Hopefully, the shackles of that old Bruce Feinstein text, “Real Men Do Not Eat Quiche,” are fading; a more confident cadre may now eat a slice with relish.
Actually, the quiche has its origins in Germany, not France; “kuchen” translates as a savory cake or tart. When the dish did make its way to France, the quiche was a rustic concoction composed of a dough crust, eggs, cream and the unsmoked pork lardons that any farm kitchen would evidence.
In the South, we would provide biscuit dough, hens’ eggs, churned top milk and fat back crumbles as recipe.
Actually, Feinstein meant his text to be a tongue-in-cheek satire on stereotypical male imagery. However, that satire became lost as James Bond made a quiche in “A View to Kill” in 1985, calling the rendering “an omelet.” LongHorn Steakhouse added a commercial to drive a death steak into the pie via NASCAR in proclaiming, “After the checkered flag, these guys didn’t go eat quiche.”
Even if the stigma remains, consider pizza — a pie if ever there was one. Real men do eat pizza. Perhaps the ingredients in quiche do not seem as rich or meat heavy foods males seem to relish, as with the Italian pie. However, I do love quiche, perhaps because I can always clear out the fridge and have a main dish quickly.
Just now, I have cooked broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, a few slices of prosciutto lingering at the ready. A few minutes in the oven cook the wafer-thin ham into smoky crispness; I then add the other two, beaten eggs and cream and pour into a shell: presto, lunch or supper.
A newspaper article recently sparked my interest in a new twist on quiche that might just charm a male guest.
The crust is formed, from all things, tater tots! Curiosity got the better of me, and I rushed to the store and bought the first bag of tater tots to ever ride in my grocery cart. I loved the result and served it for my solitary brunch pleasure after church and heated as a side for steak later.
Tater Skin Quiche
(Adapted from The Wall Street Journal)
20 thawed tater tots
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese
l ½ cups half and half
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or butter or oil
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 large shallot minced and cooked (or ¼ cup onion)
Break up the tater tots, add ½ cup of the cheese, the drippings or other fat, salt and pepper to taste and pat into a greased 9½-inch pie plate to form a crust. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. Lower the heat to 350.
Beat the eggs soundly and add the half and half and sour cream. Beat again to combine well. Add the shallot/onion, bacon and any additional salt and pepper you might like (here I always add a shake of Worcestershire and hot sauce). Pour into the cooled shell (this may be readied ahead of time) and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake another 40-45 minutes (I used less time) until top is nicely browned. Allow to cool a bit before slicing.
I have generated an image of Daniel Craig, quiche slice in hand, as he watches a checkered flag end a NASCAR race, handing over another slice to Jimmie Johnson, who is so manly and self-assured that his consumption begs anyone to doubt the end of this ridiculous myth.