Breakfast,  Egg dishes,  Pies,  Snacks,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

Zucchini Quiche

Zucchini is to quiche as eggplant is to parmigiana. There is no higher calling for this elongated green summer squash than to be sautéed with onions, splashed with wine, tossed with herbs, then married with cheese and eggs into this savory Zucchini Quiche.

Not really a quiche, this recipephany has more of an Italian than French accent. A layer of toasted breadcrumbs replaces the pastry crust. Herbs you’d shake into a red sauce awaken the sweetness in the zucchini. And a secret ingredient—ginger—blends in so mysteriously that I dare you to pick it out of the crowd.

I’d forgotten where this recipe came from until Elinor Lipman (best-selling novelist and source of Cinnamon Tea Cake and other recipephanies) reminded me that it dates back to our post-college roommate days. We and our husbands-to-be shared an apartment overlooking the Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Brighton, Massachusetts.

“I have so many cooking memories from Reservoir Gardens,” says Ellie. “Remember ‘Meatballs, I Quit’?” Of course I do, because I made them the day she left her writing job at WGBH-TV. But were they the ones made with ginger snaps? I forget.

And there was “Rez-A-Roni,” our homemade version of Rice-A-Roni, with onion soup mix and broken-up spaghetti.

She still laughs about the wacky dishes. “Remember your mother’s chocolate mousse recipe, essentially chocolate chips and a blender? And the favorite hors d’oeuvre was cream cheese in celery? We were twenty-three, and ten dollars per person per week covered our grocery bill.”

Ellie recalls that our downstairs neighbors Jim and Andy served us this zucchini quiche, and she copied the recipe on the spot. For all these years, I have been following a recipe card virtually identical to hers, but had blanked on the source. I love this reconstructed memory.

Ellie chops up the zucchini quite fine, and I play around with quantities, so please go ahead and adjust to your taste. While mushrooms can add some delightful umami, I usually don’t bother. You can use traditional Swiss, and it’s also fun to blend in cheddar, provolone or whatever you like from your cheese drawer.

This makes two modest pie-plate sized quiches, one to eat right away and one to freeze and enjoy later—like a treat from Trader Joe’s. If you want to make one large quiche instead, increase baking time by about 10 minutes.

This is a far cry from Julia Child’s TV quiche. So I prefer to quote another favorite TV figure, Frasier Crane, who asks his dinner guests, “Quiche Lorraine, anyone?” and gets the classic response, “Quiche her? But I hardly know her!”

Zucchini Quiche

Makes 2 quiches. Each serves 4. Freezes well.

  • About 4 medium zucchini
  • 2 large onions or leeks, or a combination
  • ¼ pound mushrooms (optional)
  • 6 scallions (not necessary if you use leeks)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups grated Swiss or a full-fat cheese blend of your choice (provolone, cheddar, etc.)
  • About ½ cup toasted bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Chop vegetables, press or slice garlic, and sauté in butter over low heat until just limp. Do not overcook.
  2. Add sherry or vermouth and seasonings, remove from heat, and let cool a few minutes.
  3. Beat eggs in a large bowl, add cheese(s), and stir in vegetables.
  4. Butter two 8- or 9-inch pie plates and coat bottoms and sides with breadcrumbs. Pour in vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with some breadcrumbs and dot with butter. Bake 30-40 minutes until set and light brown. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
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