Forager’s quiche

By El Lower, Michigan Sea Grant GLANSIS research associate

Decorative plate with blue and yellow flowers holding a bundle of fresh greens and a slice of quiche, which is topped with pickled spruce tips and mushrooms.
A slice of quiche. Photo: El Lower

Quiche has an undeserved reputation for being fussy, but it’s actually a fun, easy way to cook with wild ingredients. Essentially a savory custard baked in a pie crust, quiche is endlessly adaptable and a delicious way to highlight smaller amounts of foraged or seasonal foods like wild greens, mushrooms, and herbs. It’s also good for using up odds and ends of veggies and cheese that might be languishing in your fridge — a great way to avoid food waste! In this article, I’ll present a basic template for making your own no-recipe quiche, plus a more detailed recipe for the one featured in the images here, which includes dandelion greens, goat cheese, and pickled spruce tips and crown-tipped coral mushrooms.

Here’s a DIY template for a quiche, if you’d like to improvise with your own ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust (I use the premade kind, but feel free to try your hand at a homemade crust!)
  • 4-5 eggs
  • Splash of dairy (milk, cream, or plain yogurt) for richness
  • Something oniony (try onions, shallots, chives, or wild alliums)
  • Something cheesy (goat cheese, cheddar, parmesan — anything works)
  • Something green (chopped and wilted greens like dandelion, nettle, spinach, or broccoli)
  • Something pickled (vegetables like artichoke hearts, asparagus, or bell peppers, and/or other treats like pickled mushrooms)
  • Optional: a little meat (bacon, ham, or even smoked salmon work well — you can also do sauteed mushrooms)
  • Salt + pepper to taste

I had a bunch of dandelion greens I harvested for another recipe last week, and decided to use half the bundle for a quiche. Dandelion leaves are flavorful with a bit of pleasant bitterness in the spring, like radicchio or escarole, but as the weather heats up and the plants bolt, the bitterness can become overwhelming to some. If you happen to bring home some dandelion greens from the farmer’s market or an unsprayed yard and they’re unpalatably bitter, chop them and blanch them in boiling salted water for 2-5 minutes, then pop them into an ice bath to maintain their green color and drain before use. This will mellow out the flavor significantly.

In addition, I also had a small amount of pickled spruce tips and some pickled crown-tipped coral mushrooms (Artomyces pyxidatus) that I wanted to use up, along with the last of a log of goat cheese. The foraged ingredients made a lovely decoration for the resulting quiche.

Full quiche set on a wooden backdrop; quiche has an array of pickled spruce tips and mushrooms on top.
A quiche with greens, cheese, and pickled mushrooms and spruce tips. Photo: El Lower

Forager’s Quiche

  • 1 deep-dish pie crust, thawed
  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 small white onion
  • Blanched dandelion greens, about 1 packed cup
  • ⅛ cup of crumbled goat cheese
  • Pickled spruce tips and wild mushrooms, to top
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried thyme, and red pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Thaw your pie crust if necessary. While doing so, saute onion and greens for a few minutes and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper. Place sauteed ingredients in an even layer at the bottom of the pie crust and top with crumbles of cheese.
  3. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and other seasonings until blended. Carefully pour mixture into the pie crust atop the other fillings.
  4. Decorate the top of your quiche with pickled wild ingredients, if you’re feeling fancy. (If not, add them in with the greens and cheese before you pour in the egg mixture.)
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is almost set but still a little jiggly. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

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