A few weeks ago, while in Oakland for the Bread. Toast. Crumbs. photoshoot (more on this soon!), my mom and I stumbled upon Farley’s, a cafe located a few blocks from the studio.
During our first few visits, we sampled the coffee, scones, and kouign amann, but one morning we arrived just as a frittata was making its way from the kitchen to the counter. Shingled with crispy-edged potatoes, like chips begging to be plucked (see photo below), it was impossible to pass up, and it soon became a morning ritual.
As soon as I returned from CA, I began experimenting. First I made one similar to Farley’s, which was loaded with vegetables, but I’ve since been keeping it simpler. Instead of partially cooking the eggs stovetop as you do for a frittata, I’ve been filling the potato shell with the Tartine quiche custard, a long-time favorite, and using herbs, a mix of chives, thyme, and tarragon, in favor of vegetables and cheese.
The Tartine quiche method, which Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson learned while apprenticing at a bakery in France, is bizarre: whisk 1 egg with 3 tablespoons of flour, then whisk in the remaining 4 eggs, then strain the eggs into a crème fraîche-milk mixture. It’s the silkiest, most beautiful, tastiest custard imaginable, which is why herbs alone as add-ins work.
In any incarnation — made in its entirety with a flaky, buttery pastry shell or without a crust altogether and loaded with kale — the Tartine quiche is a treat. But this latest variation, which is just slightly more work than its crustless predecessor, may be my favorite yet. The potato crust is so tasty, so pretty, and, if you own a mandoline, easy to assemble, too.
One note: Plan ahead. There is nothing tricky about making this quiche, but the timing is as follows: potato crust bakes for 20 minutes alone, custard then bakes in the potato crust for 40 minutes, and then the whole thing rests for 20 minutes before cutting. It also tastes great at room temperature, so if you are able to make it ahead, go for it.
Here’s an outline of the process: line a pie plate or skillet with thinly sliced, oiled potatoes, then bake for 20 minutes:
Meanwhile, whisk 1 egg with 3 tablespoons of flour:
Then whisk in the remaining 4 eggs:
Then strain the eggs into a mixture of 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup crème fraîche:
Add herbs, salt and pepper to the custard, then pour into the par-cooked potato crust:
Bake for 40 minutes:
Let cool 20 minutes before cutting:
Serve with a simple salad for a nice spring dinner:
The frittata at Farley’s.
Other variations: With a pastry shell and raw chard or crustless and loaded with kale.
A mandoline is helpful here.
- about a pound of red-skinned (or other) potatoes
- extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 5 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Mix of finely chopped herbs, such as: ½ cup chives, 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, ¼ cup fresh tarragon
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thinly slice the potatoes using a mandoline or sharp knife—they should be ⅛-inch thick or thinner. Place them in a large bowl and toss them with olive oil (at least a couple of tablespoons) and with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Line the quiche pan (pie plate, cast iron skillet, etc.) with the potatoes, overlapping them as you arrange them—see the photos above for a reference. Be sure the layer of potatoes closest to the edge extends above the rim—again, see photo. Place the pan on a sheet pan and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place 1 egg and the flour in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 4 eggs until blended.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the crème fraîche until smooth. Whisk in the milk. Pour the egg mixture through a fine mesh sieve held over the milk mixture. Whisk in the salt, pepper and herbs.
- Pour the egg mixture into the par-cooked potato crust. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and bake until the filling is just set, about 40 minutes. The center of the quiche should still feel slightly firm, rather than liquidy, when touched. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes to allow the custard to set up, so that it will slice neatly. It can be served warm or at room temperature. To serve a fully cooled quiche warm, cover it with aluminum foil and reheat it in a 325ºF for about 15 minutes.