Potlucks are becoming part of the social landscape here. I think it has something to do with fatigue. As my friend Edith says “When you invite people to a “diner partage,” aside from setting the table and opening the wine, there’s nothing else to do.”
She has a point. As those of us who entertain a lot know, there’s plenty of work involved in cooking dinner for even a small group. When the group grows to twenty or thirty, it’s a full-time job for at least an entire day, if not two.
I went to a “diner partage” the other night, and as you can see from the photo, quiche was the dish of the evening. No one asked for quiche; it must just be the simplest dish for a French cook to make, for quiche are always legion. A “diner partage” might just as easily be called “quiche partage.”
On this particular occasion there was a very yummy leek quiche, and one with smoked salmon quiche. There was the ever-present canned tuna quiche (luckily without tomatoes), and a delicious and simple cheese quiche too. There was also a sort of “loaf quiche” studded with pieces of ham, and way off in the corner, a lonely little tabouleh salad.
It’s true that the point of an evening is being together. I’m still of the mind, though, that I want to prepare the food my guests enjoy, and I’m not quite ready to propose a “diner partage.” That, for me, would take away most of the fun!
If you do get invited to a “diner partage,” here is a great quiche recipe to take along.
QUICHE AU FROMAGE
PURE CHEESE QUICHE
One recipe for On Rue Tatin basic pastry
6 large eggs
2/3 cup (160ml) heavy cream or crème fraîche
1 cup (250ml) milk (preferably whole)
8 ounces (250g) Gruyere, Emmenthal, or other Swiss-type cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg – optional
1. Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch glass or metal pie plate (not removable bottom). Crimp the edges, poke the bottom with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, and place the pastry in the freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
3. Line the pastry with aluminum foil and pastry weights and bake in the bottom third of the oven until the pastry is golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the aluminum foil and pastry weights. Return the pastry to the oven to bake until the bottom is golden, an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and the milk until thoroughly blended. Season with the salt and pepper, then add the cheese and stir until it is blended, Turn the mixture into the pre-baked pastry, and spread out the cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg if you’ve used a Swiss-type cheese, and bake in the center of the oven until the filling is golden and puffed, and is completely baked through. To test for doneness, shake the quiche – if it is solid without a pool of uncooked filling in the center, it is done. You may also stick a sharp knife blade into the center of the filling and if it comes out clean, the quiche is baked through.
5. Remove the quiche from the oven and serve immediately.
6 to 8 servings