Seafood and quiche are a natural marriage of flavors
A James Island caller’s request for seafood quiche recipes reminded me that quiche is too often pigeon-holed as a brunch food. Truthfully, a slice of this custardy egg pie makes a great dinner meal, especially when a nice fresh salad is by its side.
The addition of seafood to quiche, like our local crab and shrimp, makes for a natural marriage of flavors as well.
Joanne Alexander of West Ashley shares a recipe that I have seen versions of in several local cookbooks.
“I have had this recipe since the early 1970s,” she writes. “Have shared with lots of folks who like that it does not have heavy cream in it. It tastes even better the second day and it freezes well. It is easy to make two and freeze one.”
She adds that it is even better warmed the next day.
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1 (7.5-ounce) can of drained, flaked crab meat (or 1/2 pound fresh crab meat)
1/3 cup sliced green onions
8 ounces Swiss cheese, diced
Combine the mayonnaise, eggs, flour and milk and mix until blended. Add the crab meat, green onions and Swiss cheese.
Pour into a pastry-lined (uncooked) 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm.
Editor’s note: Another version of the recipe calls for garnishing the top of the filling with large mushroom slices before baking, a nice touch.
The same recipe, found in the cookbook “Plantation Tours & Tastes,” offers additional words of wisdom: Prepared filling may be mixed ahead and kept refrigerated until ready to bake, but do not fill pie crust until ready to bake. Also, place pan on cookie sheet before baking.
Carol Dotterer of Charleston sends this recipe she clipped from The Post and Courier a few years ago. The recipe came from Rue de Jean restaurant in Charleston, and it makes a rich, custardy quiche.
Editor’s note: We made the recipe using a standard Pyrex 9-inch glass pie pan. The egg and cream mixture filled it to the brim, so be extra careful when transporting the pan to the oven. A deep-dish pan is an alternative.
Asparagus & Crab Quiche
Makes 1 (9-inch) quiche
1 (9-inch) baked and cooled pie shell
13/4 cups grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese
5 whole large eggs
2 cups (1/2 quart) heavy cream
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 spears blanched asparagus, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 ounces lump crab meat
Fill cooled pie shell with cheese.
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk eggs together. Slowly whisk in cream, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over cheese and place asparagus and crab on top, gently pushing in to submerge them. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Rotate pan front to back. Finish baking until top is golden brown, about 30 more minutes. Cool until quiche sets up and firms.
Editor’s note: We baked the quiche for 1 hour at 325 degrees, and it turned out perfectly, too.
Kathy Davis of North Charleston called her recipe in. “I’ve had it probably 30 years. When I was a Tupperware manager, one of my hostesses served it.”
Kathy says she had her doubts but once she tasted it, she was sold. “My family loves it. ... First, my son loves it so much and now my grandson, so I make two at a time.”
Makes 1 (9-inch)
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 (15-ounce) can condensed clam chowder
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 slices American cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake shell 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Combine remaining ingredients except cheese. Pour 2/3 of the egg mixture into the shell. Add cheese slices on top and pour rest of egg mixture over. Bake 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.
The locally known “shrimp pie” is sort of a cousin to quiche. When researching quiche recipes in the office collection of community cookbooks, I found this from my old friend and mentor Ann Thrash. Ann, of course, was food editor for many years before me.
This recipe is in Ann’s cookbook, “South Carolina: Always in Season,” which she published in 2002.
Ann’s headnote reads, “No one in the family can remember how long we’ve been making this dish — but when shrimp-baiting season begins in September, we don’t have any trouble remembering that this is one of our favorite shrimp recipes.”
King Street Shrimp Pie
Makes 4 servings
8 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 dashes Tabasco
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 rounded teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in a little water
1 quart shrimp, cooked and peeled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear the bread into roughly shaped pieces and place them in a mixing bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and stir to coat. Stir in the eggs, melted butter, salt, Tabasco, pepper and mustard. Stir in the shrimp. Pour the mixture into a 11/2-quart glass baking dish and top with a sprinkling of paprika. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the top browns and the casserole has risen uniformly. Serve right away.
Fried and true
Last month we fielded a request for the fried shrimp served at the old LaBrasca’s restaurant, a popular Charleston eatery on upper King Street.
At the time, I was unable to reach the family. But since then, I’ve heard from Suzanne Bolton of Mount Pleasant, granddaughter of the founders, George and Effie LaBrasca.
She writes, “I always appreciate the requests for our family’s recipes. I am often surprised when I meet or hear of another local who remembers and enjoyed LaBrasca’s ... thank you so much for the stroll down memory lane.”
Suzanne says while LaBrasca’s used a commercial deep-fryer for its fried shrimp and the results may be somewhat different, she duplicated the recipe using a cast-iron Dutch oven and enough vegetable oil to “deep-fry.”
“Our fresh local shrimp are the best I’ve ever had and I believe it’s a mortal sin to try and ‘dress them up’ too much,” she adds.
LaBrasca’s Fried Shrimp
1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and rinsed; tails on or off as preferred
11/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil; enough oil to deep-fry
Cocktail or tartar sauce if desired
Prepare shrimp and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside. In a second large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Heat oil to 375 degrees in the Dutch oven.
Wet shrimp in milk/egg mixture and working quickly, place in flour mixture, toss to coat and carefully drop or place shrimp in heated oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until coating is golden brown. Drain on a wire rack or on paper towels.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Who’s got the recipe?
Carolyn Green of Ravenel requests recipes for cheese biscuits.
Looking for a recipe or have one to share? Reach Features Editor Teresa Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-4886.