One of the best things about Oakland, in my opinion, is the proliferation of good and great restaurants serving foods from all over the world. Certainly there is Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, and Japanese, and wonderful Korean, Indian, Malaysian, Mexican, even Burmese cuisine is not hard to find. There aren’t many French restaurants in Oakland, though (A Cote is a notable exception), and I have a fondness for French country cooking. This is not the overly sauced food you find in some French restaurants. This is earthy, subtle yet very flavorful food that’s delicious and easy to love.
Quiche Lorraine (or more accurately Quiche Alsacienne, since we have onions in the pie), is a surprisingly easy dish to make at home, using common ingredients. It’s also very romantic and makes a lovely dinner for two. Try it some weeknight when you don’t have a lot of extra time, and there’s something to celebrate!
- 1 frozen rolled pie crust, I like Pillsbury best, but Safeway brand is also pretty good
- 6 slices bacon, applewood smoked bacon is especially good, or a combination of bacon and chicken-apple sausage.
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped small
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, I’ve used both sharp and medium
- 1/2 cup shredded gruyere or Jarlsberg Swiss cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 12-oz can unsweeted condensed milk (be sure you get unsweetened)
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- dash of cayenne pepper, plus more for sprinkling on top
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Take the frozen pie crust out 15 minutes before starting, to thaw enough to unroll easily. Don’t take it out too early, as it’s hard to work with if it gets too soft.
Turn the oven on to 450 degrees to preheat.
Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry in a small skillet until barely crisp. Take the bacon out of the skillet and drain on paper towels, reserving the bacon drippings.
If using the sausage, slit the casing and remove the sausage, crumbling and frying it in the bacon drippings. Take it out of the skillet, again reserving the drippings, and put it with the cooked bacon.
Saute the onions in the drippings over medium heat until they are nicely colored, about 8 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the condensed milk. Add the nutmeg, salt, cayenne, and white pepper and whisk again.
Unroll the pie crust and place it in a pretty pie plate, gently pressing it to fit all the curves of the plate.
Distribute the cooked onion, bacon, and sausage evenly over the bottom of the crust. Distribute the shredded cheeses evenly over that, taking care that the two cheeses are mixed evenly.
Pour the egg mixture evenly over the cheese. The cheese will still rise above the eggs.
Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper evenly over the top.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with a fresh salad, like Fall Salad from your Oakland Farmers’ Market. Bon appetit!