The really awesome thing about the weekend is that I get to turn off the alarm before going to bed and usually, wake up and get out of bed at my leisure. The not so awesome thing about the weekend is, at 51, my internal clock is preset to wake at 7 a.m. regardless of the day of the week. My internal clock does not come with a snooze button either. My eyes pop open and I'm awake. That's not to say that there haven't been occassions where I've literally forced myself to go back to sleep but it's not a good sleep...it's that kind of sleep where you wake up an hour or so later feeling totally disoriented and out of sorts. That being the case, I try my best to slip out of bed and down the hall as quietly as I can, without waking anyone else. I'm not usually very successful in that endeavor...I'd make a horrible ninja....stealth and me just don't go hand in hand.
When I woke this past weekend at 7 a.m., I did my absolute best to swish down the hallway like vapor, make myself a nice mug of green tea and then sit by my laptop, leisurely checking out what happened in the world when I wasn't looking. (Who am I kidding? I logged into Facebook). Sounds good right? And it was good....for about 15 minutes...and then I was bored....and hungry. I decided I had plenty of time to put together something for a brunchy breakfast for Stephen, Mackenzie and I. Breakfast casserole? Nah, not in the mood. Frittatta? A frittata requires cooking the ingredients in a skillet until almost set and then putting it in the oven so that the top layer sets and finishes. Perhaps it's just me, but I feel like I have to watch it like a hawk at that point 'cause I'm ok with a little browning around the edges, it's pretty much par for the course, but too much browning? I shudder at the thought! That beng said, the thought of an all-in-one egg dish did have a certain amount of appeal. Omelettes would be an individual thing and I was thinking more along the lines of 'one dish fits all'. Quiche? Ugh...I really wasn't in the mood to make a crust. But what about a quiche with all the ingredients of a fritatta but no crust? A quichatta if you will.
You may be wondering just what is the difference between a frittata, quiche and omelette. Well, a frittata is an egg based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche that is enriched with additional ingredients. The Italian word 'frittata' derives from 'friggere' and means 'fried'. This was originally the term for cooking eggs in a skillet. As Della Smith, the UK's best-selling cookery author puts it, a frittata is 'Italy's version of an open faced omellete'. The main difference between a frittata and an omelette is that the ingredients are mixed in with the egg in a frittata whereas they are added on top of a mostly cooked omelette before it's folded over. The differences between a frittata and quiche is that usually a quiche is cooked in a crust and while frittata is mostly cooked on the stove top and then placed in the oven, a quiche is cooked almost completely in the oven.
I wasn't sure how it was going to work out but I quickly had a back-up plan to treat my husband and daughter to breakfast out at our favourite downtown brunch eatery, The Bagel Cafe. With a fair idea which direction I was going to go in, I went to the refrigerator to see what goodies lie in waiting. Spinach, green pepper, red onion, ham, mushrooms, cheese and eggs.
I tossed the ham into a hot skillet, let it cook for a few minutes before adding in the onion, mushrooms and green pepper. I sauteed all of that until the onions were translucent and the mushrooms slightly browned.
Can't you almost smell the combination of ham and onions sauteeing? I then added in about a cup and a half of chopped fresh spinach and reduced the heat to low, letting the heat from the ham and vegetables wilt the spinach.
Dear Sweet Lord....how many people was I planning on feeding? Shag it...leftover quiche for lunch tomorrow! But I digress...I then whisked 7 eggs with 1/2 c. milk, and added in 1 and 1/2 c. shredded cheese. (I used a mixture of aged Canadian white cheddar and mild cheddar). I then added in the ham, onion, mushroom, green pepper and spinach mixture.
I then poured the contents into a lightly greased pie plate, topped with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and heated the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
While I was waiting for the oven to heat up, I looked at the uncooked quiche waiting right along with me and I thought, 'Dollars to donuts, the first thing Stephen's going to do is pour ketchup all over this', (he's a 'ketchup' kinda guy, what can I say?). Then I thought, 'Hmmm....ketchup. What about some roasted cherry tomatoes to go with this? They'd take only about 40 minutes in the oven right alongside the quiche.' I quickly poured some cherry tomatoes into a nonstick pie plate tossed them with a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with a little freshly ground sea salt and black pepper and a couple of pinches of brown sugar. When the oven beeped indicating that the desired temperature had been reached, I slipped both pie pans into the oven and set the time for 40 minutes. The crustless quiche would most likely take about 50 minutes, or 10 minutes more than the tomatoes, but that was fine with me.
After 40 minutes, I took the roasted tomatoes out, transferred them to a bowl and gave them a rough mash with a fork.
I've got to say, roasting is my favorite way to have any vegetable. It just seems to bring out this earthy, wonderful sweetness that cooking in any other manner does not. I checked the crustless quiche to see if it was set by inserting a knife into the centre and seeing that it was set and no 'wet' eggs seeped through, I removed it from the oven to cool while I roused my hubby and daughter from bed.
To plate, I tossed some fresh strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and fresh pineapple together and scooped some onto each plate along with slice of Crustless Quiche with Roasted Tomatoes on top.
I want to point out that other than adding a little freshly ground sea salt to the tomatoes, there was no salt added to this Crustless Quiche. I felt that the saltiness of the ham would be sufficient for us, and it was, but we're low or no salt people...you might want to add a little salt to your egg mixture before baking.
This was the perfect light yet filling, savory breakfast and the mixed berries and pineapple on the side added just the right amount of sweet to the overall plate. We had over half a quiche leftover and everyone had a slice for lunch the next day. Warm or cold, breakfast, brunch or lunch, this Crustless Quiche hits the spot!
Crustless Quiche with Roasted Tomato Sauce....easy, healthied-up, inexpensive AND delicious!