Crab and Comté cheese quiche

When I threw open the curtains yesterday morning and saw the way the sun was beaming through; all shards of light, punctuating a forest floor strewn with pants and socks, I thought to myself - 'Today is beautiful and so surely, this has to be a shorts and t-shirt day!' And I got dressed as such. After tidying up my side of the bed that is. Yet when I wandered outside to go and do a daily shop like Nigel Slater, with wicker basket in hand, the brightness outside belied the truth. For it is still farking freezing cold out there folks. Like yer granny says, ne'er cast a clout before May is out. A mantra that was very much racing through my mind, as I raced up the road, nipples protruding and buttocks clenched tightly, like one of those speed walkers, wot crapped themselves.

However I did manage to pick up some bits and pieces in the supermarket; namely some eggs, ready rolled pastry and some crab and hit upon the notion to make a quiche. Because I love quiche and I haven't made quiche in a long, long time. Or "kwitch" even. Which is apparently how my wife's granddad used to pronounce it.

The introduction of crab was a bit inspirational and last minute actually. I was originally going to go all Lorraine like because I already had the bacon lardons back home in the fridge. But then I spotted a pot of ready picked, fresh crab meat on the shelves; from a Cornish company called Seafood & Eat It no less. So after laughing hard and pointing at the pun for a full on five minutes, I decided to sod it all and make a crab quiche instead.

If, like me, you love crab but hate the damned rigmarole of scooping gorgeous white and brown meat out of a rose pink shell and often furry legs, this stuff is a godsend. I bought two pots and at £3.75 a punt (at time of writing) you might think that it's a bit pricy but considering that an average crab, undressed costs about £8-£10 (depending on where you are and time of year), which would yield about the same amount of meat, well it does work out to be quite reasonable in the end. Plus you save yourself from itchy fingers (unless you wear marigolds when smashing up your crab).

Crab in a pot
Coming back to the matter of quiche though, there was an added impetus for making one because I had a slab of Comté cheese sent to me to try and if quiche benefits from anything, it is a slab of nutty joy from the Jura in France. Cheddar is fine for an eggy baked flan but sometimes it can be a bit overpowering, especially if mature. Aged Comté on the other hand is slightly different. Subtle yet complex. Sweet and aromatic. Grassy or peppery, depending on the time of year when it's made. The flavours of Comté do vary throughout the season and accord to whatever the Montbéliarde cows are munching on, the cattle famous for producing the milk. Their varied diet of hay, flowers, grass will all have a different effect on the end result and I mused on this whilst eating a clump of the cheese that had been grated into a bowl. Before remembering that I needed to keep some back for the quiche.

Grated cheeeeeese, hmmmmm
Now, a warning. This quiche is, how to describe it, a bit of a wibbly wobbly thing. If you sit in the firm camp and appreciate a stodgy, rigid and unrelenting quiche; the sort of quiche that would do nicely for smashing a window open or replacing a car wheel, this is not the quiche for you.

If however, you like your quiche to be light. airy and just slightly, slightly gooey in the middle, then this mellifluous tart will go down a treat. Especially if you make it for a picnic. Make sure you wear a cardie though.

Crab and Comté cheese quiche - serves 6 to 8


250gms ready roll shortcrust pastry sheet (cheat!)
100gm Comté cheese, grated
150gms crab meat, white and brown (I used one and a half pots basically, using the spare half for a sandwich)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks, from 2 large eggs
200mls whole milk
150mls creme fraiche
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to season
Knob of butter

The main ingredients for kwich

First heat your oven to 200C and leave the ready rolled puffed pastry out of the fridge for 30 minutes. When ready, take a loose bottomed flan tin (mine is 20 cm across and 5cm deep, roughly speaking) and drape the pastry sheet over the tin. Carefully tuck the pastry down the sides and to the bottom, leave some to hang over the tin. Prick the bottom with a fork, line with greaseproof paper, throw some baking beans in and blind bake. See here for explanation on blind baking. 

Whilst that is baking, take that knob of butter, place into a frying pan on a medium heat on the hob and then add the chopped onion and saute for 10 minutes until nice and soft. Leave to cool. 

When the pastry casing is done, put to one side and also leave to cool. 

Meanwhile make your eggy, crabby mix in a bowl by first mixing the eggs, milk and creme fraiche with a whisk until silky smooth. Then add and stir through the cheese, crab and parsley. And then finish up by throwing in the lemon zest, pinch of cayenne and some salt and gently mix it all together.

Turn the oven down 150C and pour the filling into the pastry case until it reaches the top. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven and leave to cook for 40 mins. If it looks too fluid after that time, just turn the oven off, open the door slightly and leave to finish off cooking in the residual heat.

Enjoy with whatever you fancy, like salad, radishes and Jersey potatoes.

Kwich and salad, tres bon


There I was the other day thinking about making a crab tart, but without a recipe for such a thing, and what happens? You write this post - perfect timing!
Ah Food Urchin this looks delicious! I'm always trying new quiche recipes and this one sounds super tasty! Thanks :)

Cee x

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