Welcome to 2017 and a brand new series at Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen called Camino Flavors. I had an incredible experience last September on the Camino Frances in Spain. The food ran the gamut from meh to OMG… I plan to share the meals that stood out for me, starting with a ham and leek quiche based on one I had at a communal meal in Villares de Órbigo.
There’s only one albergue in Villares de Órbigo, about 40 minutes outside León by car but 2 days on foot passing through fields of wheat and hops. The albergue is run by a Belgian couple who have renovated the building into charming dormitories and private rooms. They offer meals, soft drinks, beer and wine on a donativo basis. On the night I stayed there, about 15 of us sat at a long table in the courtyard and shared conversation, wine, bread and one of the better meals I had on the Camino. In addition to soup and salad our hosts served two quiches, one was leek and jamón and the other was chorizo and manchego cheese.
Around the table we had English, Spanish, Dutch, French and German speakers all united in the goal of walking an ancient pilgrimage route in order to reach Santiago de Compostela, still about 300 km away. Most of the Europeans also spoke English so we chatted until the wine as gone and the sun went down.
When I made my quiche at home I substituted cured pork shoulder (aka picnic ham in the US) for the jamón. Leeks are widely used here in Spain, and while they are pricey in the US, their mild flavor is perfect in a quiche where all of the ingredients should work together instead of taking over.
You probably recognize my quiche pan from other recipes on the blog. We use it a lot both to cook in and to serve foods. It’s about 11 inches wide, but with a little coaxing from my rolling pin I can make a store bought pie crust fit. My filling measurements reflect the size of my quiche pan, so you might want to use 3 eggs instead of four or use medium eggs instead of large.
This quiche can be eaten whenever you like. It’s great for breakfast or serve it with soup or salad for a light meal. Everytime I eat it I’m reminded of the fantastic communal meal I had with the pilgrims at Villares de Órbigo. Hope you enjoy it, too.
- single pie crust (I used store bought)
- 2 - 3 leeks, whites and the lighter green parts, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups after cooking)
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup baked ham, chopped (a large handful)
- 1 cup shredded swiss or emmental cheese
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Saute the leeks in the olive oil along with a pinch of red pepper flakes and the thyme until tender.
- Stir in the chopped ham and remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly.
- Arrange the pie crust in the quiche pan and form a nice edge on the crust.
- Beat the eggs and cream together, season with salt and pepper.
- Scatter about half of the cheese on top of the crust. Top with the leek and ham mixture and spread it out. (If it looks like too much for your dish, take some out.)
- Pour the beaten eggs over top. Use a fork to gently open up space to allow the eggs to move through the mix.
- Top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes or longer. It´s done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Look for more Camino Flavors on the first Wednesday of the month.