Zucchini-feta quiche in bread crust

(Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff)
By Sheryl Julian
Globe Staff / June 17, 2009

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Makes one 9-inch pie or enough to serve 4

A quiche is ideal if you're expecting house guests and not sure when exactly they're arriving, or need something to have on hand for a weekend when everyone is coming and going at different times. Set the pie on the counter with a knife and a few plates and you'll see it disappear quickly. For some cooks, making pastry is daunting. But if you buy a quiche, the price is high - certainly higher than eggs, pie crust, and some vegetables cost. You're paying for someone to roll out that flaky crust. You can buy just the crust, of course (still expensive), or skip the crust. Lay white toasting bread in a deep pie dish, brush it with butter, and you'll get something that will cradle the filling nicely. Toast the crust, then add the filling and bake it to set the custard. This one uses zucchini and feta. Substitute 1 pound of fresh spinach for the zucchini, if you like. Rinse it well, steam it, squeeze out the water with your hands, then chop it coarsely. This isn't elegant food. Think of it as poor man's quiche. That is, a poor man with a rich appetite.

5 slices white toasting bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 eggs
4 ounces imported feta cheese, crumbled
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a deep 9-inch pie pan and a rimmed baking sheet.

2. With a pastry brush, butter the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Lay 3 slices of bread in the pie pan so they do not overlap; an edge of each slice should be flush with the top of the pan. Press the bread to mold it against the pan. Brush with butter. Cut the remaining 2 slices of bread into pieces to make patches that will fill in the holes between the slices. Brush them with butter. Set the pan on the baking sheet.

3. Toast the crust for 15 minutes or until it is set but not brown.

4. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until the slices are golden and tender. Add salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper during cooking.

5. Transfer the zucchini to the bread crust. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.

5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the feta on the zucchini. Add the egg mixture, tilting the dish so it makes an even layer (it may not cover the filling, but that's OK).

6. Bake the pie for 30 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is lightly browned.