Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saturday's Sunday Brunch

As I may have said before, Saturday is my Sunday...

This doesn't mean that Sunday doesn't exist, it just means that while the rest of the Western World is enjoying their Sunday brunches, I am busy beavering away at work. So I enjoy my brunch on Saturdays...

This particular Saturday I hankered for a genuine brunch. The smoked salmon and cream cheese, the crepes, the spinach salad... What I ended up making pretty well satisfied that craving.

Admittedly I cheated and used something called malawach, a Yemenite bread that is usually pan fried until it puffs up and is crispy and golden brown. Like a croissant or puff pastry, it can be torn apart into very thin layers. This is easily found in the freezer section of almost every corner store and every major supermarket in Israel. If you can't get malawach, use frozen puff pastry instead.

Seeing as this was my Sunday, I was too lazy to look into any cookbooks for exact recipes - I followed my instincts and came up with this:

Swiss Chard Quiche with Smoked Salmon

  • Malawach defrosted 1
    (or puff pastry enough to make a 9 inch quiche shell)
  • Swiss Chard leaves chiffonade (finely shredded) 3-4 loosely packed cups
  • Onion finely diced 1 small
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Feta, Tsfatit, Neufchatel or similar cheese sliced or grated 150 gr (or more if desired)
  • Smoked salmon - 4 slices
  • Eggs 4
  • Heavy cream 75-100ml
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste (be cautious with the salt, both the salmon and the cheese, especially if using feta, are already salty, better to undersalt alot than oversalt a bit)

Over medium heat sautee onion in oil until golden. Increase heat and add chard. Cook until most of the juice has evaporated, add liberal quantity of nutmeg and pepper (freshly grated/ground if possible) and a bit of salt. Turn off heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350f/170c. On a floured surface or between pieces of silicone paper roll out malawach until slightly bigger than the quiche tin. It should be thin, but not transparent. Put a piece of silicone paper on bottom of tin (or flour lightly) and lay the dough into the tin and trim edges leaving a bit of a margin for shrinkage.

Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes, using beans or pastry weights to keep the bottom from rising up and bubbling. When it is lightly golden, remove and let cool.

Beat eggs and cream together with a fork until mixed but not frothy.

To Assemble

Rip salmon slices by hand and lay in a spoke pattern on the bottom of the pie shell (this makes it easier to cut). Add about 3/4's of the cheese and then the chard, making sure each layer is fairly evenly distributed. Pour over the egg mixture and then add the rest of the cheese on top.

Put into the oven and turn heat down to 325f, bake for about 25 minutes. If the edges of the crust look like they are getting too dark, cover them with foil, leaving the center of the quiche uncovered. Remove from oven when jiggly but not sloshy, and the sides are medium firm. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

This can be served warm, room temperature or cold, and with a salad will serve 4 hungry people, or makes 8 nice slices for part of a brunch buffet.

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