With family events, we always seem to be running late. Granted, if something starts at 5 p.m. -- to my family, that really means 4:45 p.m sharp...which is why tardiness just so happens to be a perpetual trend for us.
For Thanksgiving, this was no exception. As we were madly putting the final touches on the banana cream pie, we were just starting to even think about the appetizer dish that we needed to bring. Luckily for us, we had already decided on mini quiches-- which like most egg dishes, are incredibly easy and straightforward (coincidence, eh?). Yup...good thing we had nothing to do with the main course this year! :P
Anyway, this variation on a quiche is especially delicious because it uses a hash brown potato crust instead of the typical pastry pie crust. Not only does this provide a nice contrast to the eggs, but it's also a much healthier alternative, which becomes somewhat more important during any holiday season of gluttony. Like most egg frittatas or quiches, you can essentially add anything you want into the egg mixture. We used Canadian bacon for substance (meat is king in our household) and a bit of saltiness, smoked cheddar for gooey cheesiness, and spinach, zucchini, red bell pepper, and onions for more color and flavor.
One thing to note is that this dish should be baked and served in a normal pie pan. Because we wanted to make it a bit more "finger-food friendly", we used individual cupcake trays instead. While the idea was cute, it altered the hash brown crust -- and instead of a nice crispy potato crust, the egg mixture leaked through the hash browns so that there was less contrast between the crust and everything else. The below recipe reflects the original pie pan method for a crispier hash brown crust. There's nothing like a warm, cheesy potato and egg breakfast...or dinner :D
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 1998
1 lb shredded potatoes, soaked in ice water (or frozen hash browns, thawed)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced Canadian bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup zucchini
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 10-inch glass pie dish with vegetable oil spray. Mix potatoes, garlic, and eggs together in a bowl. Firmly press the potato mixture into pie pan until it fully covers the bottom of the dish, and is halfway up the sides. Spray lightly with Pam olive oil. Bake about 15 minutes, until crispy.
Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper, zucchini and thyme and sauté 5 minutes. Add Canadian bacon and spinach; sauté until heated through, about 1 minute. Spoon bacon mixture over potatoes in pie dish.
Whisk eggs, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend. Mix in cheese. Pour egg mixture over bacon mixture in dish. Bake quiche until set in center, about 35 minutes. Cool 20 minutes. Cut into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.