Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan includes recipes like Alsatian Pear Kugel with Prunes; Moroccan Couscous from Mogador; and Crustless Quiche Clafoutis with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Olive Oil.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Sometimes I discover dishes that are perfectly in accord with the laws of kashrut in unlikely places. Walking around a neighborhood market in Paris one day, I wandered into a small delicatessen shop called Partout et Tout Mieux, which translates as "Everywhere and Better." An alluring cherry tomato-and-basil tart sitting invitingly in the window caught my eye. So I went in and complimented Marie Le Bechennec, the shop owner, on the lovely-looking quiche. I explained that I was writing a cookbook on Jewish food in France and this crustless quiche would fit perfectly into a dairy meal. She replied that she and her husband, Serge, are from Brittany and have many Jewish customers. During the war, her father-in-law was taken prisoner by the Germans because he had hidden Jews who were being mistreated. She paused for a moment. "You know, I think my son is tolerant because he heard this strong voice growing up. That is the only way that tolerance will be translated from generation to generation."
Mary calls this dish a quiche clafoutis. In French cuisine, a quiche is a custard of eggs and milk or cream baked in a pastry crust. And clafoutis comes from the verb clafir, meaning "to fill up" or "puff up." In this case, the bright-red tomatoes and green basil puff up to the top of the custard.
I vary this dish by adding Parmesan and goat cheese; in winter try sautéed mushrooms or one package of frozen spinach and a handful of chives.
Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch quiche mold or springform pan with parchment paper.
Put the basil leaves in a small cup, and coat with the tablespoon of olive oil, letting them macerate while you prepare the quiche.
Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Then stir in the creme fraiche, milk, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste, making sure there are no lumps of flour.
Put the cherry tomatoes in the prepared pan, cover with the egg mixture, and poke the basil leaves in throughout.
Put the quiche in a cold oven, and then turn up the heat to 350 degrees. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the quiche starts to turn slightly golden on top. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
This page created December 2010
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