Basically a giant crustless quiche, this is my custardier adaptation of the frittata my mom's boyfriend made for our wedding brunch---and I use the pan he gave us for a wedding present. I add so much milk that it takes a long time in the oven, but I like the resulting creaminess, not to mention the extra time I get to prepare for all the guests! —ody
medium-sized leeks, washed and sliced
fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced into bite-size pieces
dried wild mushrooms, reconstituted in a bit of water or broth
kosher salt, plus more to taste
pepper to taste
Comte (or whatever cheese you like), grated
Use a pan (or pans, if you're splitting the recipe between two smaller ones) that can go from stovetop to oven. I use a 4-quart braiser, which just barely contains everything. No matter you jury-rig it, it's imperative that the pan be pre-heated, or else it'll take all day to bake.
If you're making this without help, crack all the eggs into a large mixing bowl before you start cooking. Then, in between stirs or additions to the mushrooms and leeks, beat the eggs until they begin to foam. Add milk, 1 tsp salt, and a few turns of pepper, and mix thoroughly.
Over medium heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the olive oil. When hot, add the fresh mushrooms. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste (about a teaspoon of each), and continue cooking until there is very little liquid left in the pan.
Add the leeks and herbs and cook another 2 minutes or until the leeks are wilted.
Scrape leeks and mushrooms into a strainer, using a rubber spatula to get as much out of the pan as possible.
Preheat oven to 325.
Over medium heat, melt the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the unwashed pan, spreading it as evenly as possible. Once the pan is good and hot, pour in the egg mixture and turn the heat to low. Leave for 10-15 minutes, so the eggs can begin to set.
Alternating handfuls, sprinkle the drained leek/mushroom mixture and 4 oz. of cheese into the eggs and bake for 60-90 minutes. Test for doneness by shaking the pan: if the center sloshes, it's not done; if the center moves slightly but immediately springs back into place, it's perfect; if the center stays immobile, it's overcooked so get it out of the oven ASAP!
During last two minutes of cooking (center is just starting to look springy), sprinkle remaining cheese over top of quiche and turn on the broiler. This helps the center to set, too, so if you want to hurry it along, try broiling earlier and for a little longer, checking for doneness every couple of minutes.