carmelized onion, ham and gruyere quiche {and an impromptu culinary sunday funday}

A few weekends ago, my lovely friend Tina came up to San Francisco to visit from Southern California.  We had initially planned on going out to brunch on Sunday morning, but I was suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to make a quiche and an equally compelling desire to not deal with the long wait times that good brunch spots in this city seem to command {have you seen the line at Sweet Maple?!}.  Brunch out turned into brunch in.

This quiche was inspired by the classic Quiche Lorraine, but with thinly sliced Black Forest ham instead of bacon, and with the addition of carmelized onions.  I served it with a lightly dressed green salad and, the only Brunch appropriate beverage – {in my opinion} – champagne.  Half a quiche, 2 bottles of champagne and hours of catching up later, seemingly out of nowhere, it was dark outside and time for dinner.

Under the influence of a lovely champagne-induced buzz, I decided to make lamb chops and a potato-cauliflower dauphinois for dinner, having bought all the ingredients the day before {in a highly uncharacteristic moment of grocery shopping foresight}.  The lamb and dauphinois were perfect complements – the medium rare, succulent and almost gamey {in a good way} lamb was perfect against the creaminess of the dauphinois.

All in all, it was a fabulous day, full of good food, reminiscing, shoe talk {namely, how Tina absolutely rocked these and how I simply need them} and laughter.  A perfect {Sun}day.  Thanks for such a special day Tina!  xo

Recipes continued after the jump…


Carmelized Onion, Black Forest Ham and Gruyere Cheese Quiche

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • Flaky Butter Crust {recipe follows}
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into half-moon slices
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped {optional}
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 c. half-and-half
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 3 thin slices Black Forest ham, cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 c. Gruyere cheese, grated

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to an 11-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and trim the edges.  {Alternatively, a 9-inch pie pan can be used.}  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Line the pastry with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake until the crust is set, 12 to 14 minutes.  Remove the paper/foil and weights/dried beans and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions, thyme {if desired} and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions are carmelized, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly.

Arrange the cooked onions, ham and cheese evenly over the bottom of the baked crust.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and half and half.  Add salt and pepper to taste and pinch of nutmeg, then whisk to combine.  Pour into the prepared crust and bake until the custard is golden, puffed, and set yet still slightly wiggly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Flaky Butter Crust

  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed

To make the dough in a food processor:  Combine the flour, salt, and butter in the processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.  With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and pulse quickly 5 or 6 times, or until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the container.  Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the dough by hand:  Combine the flour, salt, and butter in a medium bowl, and mix with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together and is no longer dry, being careful not to overmix.  Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface according to the recipe, fit it into the pan, and allow to rest again in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking.

Roast Rack of Lamb with Mint Sauce

Serves 2 to 3, depending on appetites

Adapted from Cook with Jamie

  • 1 x 8-bone rack of lamb, preferably free-range or organic, French trimmed
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper {freshly ground}
  • Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 c. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Rub the lamb with salt and pepper, pat it all over with a little olive oil and place skin-side down in a large ovenproof pan on medium heat {on the stove, not the oven} and begin to render {melt} the fat away from the rack – this should take 4 to 5 minutes.  Turn the lamb over in its fat to color on all sides.  When it is nicely brown, remove the lamb to a cutting board and sprinkle generously with rosemary.  Carefully pour any excess fat out of the pan and put the lamb back in, fat-side down.

Put the lamb in the middle of the oven and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how you prefer your lamb to be cooked and the size of the rack.  Ten minutes will give you rare meat, 10 to 14 minutes medium and 20 minutes will cook it through.

Meanwhile, add the mint, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste to a mortar, and pound with pestle until fine.  Slowly add 1/2 c. olive oil and mix well.

When the lamb is done to your liking, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.  To serve, the rack can be cut in half, presented whole on a plate, or sliced up into individual little chops {I presented it whole for a rustic look and because I was too buzzed to care too much for presentation}.  Serve with mint sauce.

Potato and Cauliflower Dauphinois

Adapted from Cook with Jamie

  • 1 c. plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 c. plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Few pinches nutmeg, freshly grated
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper {freshly ground}
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 lb, 6 oz. potatoes, peeled and sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cauliflower, sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 c. Gruyere cheese, grated
  • ½ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Put the cream, milk, sliced garlic and bay leaves into saucepan and grate over nutmeg. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and discard the bay leaves.  Rub large earthenware dish {or glass dish} with butter.  Put a layer of potatoes on the bottom, sprinkle over some thyme, salt and pepper, then add a layer of cauliflower.  Sprinkle over half of the grated Gruyere.  Add another layer of potatoes, another layer of cauliflower and finish with a layer of potatoes.  Carefully pour over the infused cream and milk.  Sprinkle over remaining Gruyere.  Oil one side of a piece of aluminum foil {I used cooking spray} and cover the dish, oil-side down, then place in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Take dish towel and carefully push down the dauphinois {remember it’s hot!} to make it more compact.  Then remove the foil.  Feel free to pour a little extra cream over the top {if you want}, and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.  Finally, sprinkle with grated Parmesan.  Place dauphinois back in over for about 10 minutes or until it has gratinated and become golden brown.

Thank you so much for reading!

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10 Responses to carmelized onion, ham and gruyere quiche {and an impromptu culinary sunday funday}

  1. Christina says:

    How delicious! Your photos of the processes are so beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  2. ladyredspecs says:

    Beautiful photos again, your quiche looks scrumptious!

  3. Karen says:

    It sounds like a perfect day. Good food and friends…nothing better.

  4. petit4chocolatier says:

    Everything looks so delicious!

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