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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Quicheless Leek Lorraine Recipe

For a time, quiche was the quintessential lunch dish, and then it wasn't. It was all because of one silly book: Real Men Don't East Quiche which was published in 1982. Quiche? Girly? Suddenly no one wanted to to be seen eating quiche.

Quiche originated in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. The Alsace borders Germany, actually the region was once part of Germany. Not surprisingly the name quiche comes from the German word "kuchen" a type of German cake. It's a pastry shell filled with a savory baked egg and cream custard. There are lots of varieties of quiche, some of the most well-known versions are Florentine which has spinach, Alsacienne with onions and Lorainne which has bacon and usually Gruyere cheese.

I like quiche but it's a bit rich with cream, eggs, cheese and a butter-laden crust. Welcome to France, eh? A few years ago I came across a recipe for a Gouda, Bacon and Leek Pancake in Bon Appetit, it was similar to a quiche but without a crust and used milk instead of cream. My adaptation is even leaner than that recipe, but equally delicious.

Note: With a green salad this makes a great lunch or dinner dish. It's also good cold for brunch or breakfast.

Quicheless Leek Lorraine
serves 4


5 center cut bacon slices
2 large leeks (white and light green parts only), coarsely chopped, rinsed and spun in a salad spinner to clean
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed shredded Gruyere (about 2 ounces)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using heavy 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, fry bacon until brown and crisp. Drain and crumble bacon. Pour off all the bacon drippings from skillet. Add the wet leeks to skillet and cover pan. Steam for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Saute with cover removed until they begin to brown and soften.

Combine eggs and flour, whisk to combine then blend in milk, mustard and sugar until smooth. Season with pepper.
Scatter bacon over leeks in skillet. Pour batter over. Top with Gruyere. Transfer to oven and bake until puffed and cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Loosen from pan and cut into wedges.