Sometimes you need a dinner you can grab on the go. But there are days when you can’t face one more rotisserie chicken.
Faced with that dilemma recently, I spotted a $7.99 ready-made quiche in the deli at the Harris Teeter in Cotswold. There were no directions on it, but the busy woman behind the counter gave me quick instructions – “just warm it up at 350 for 30 minutes or so.”
I followed her instructions and experienced what was, hands down, the worst quiche I’ve ever had: Hard, rubbery texture, exuding water from overcooked egg. I had expected leftovers, but couldn’t save it. We picked out what we could and threw the rest away.
To give it a fair shot, I returned for a second one, this time trying a spinach and artichoke version. This one did have instructions on the package, but it was just as bad as the first, with gray-green spinach, the same rubbery texture and no cheese flavor.
How could quiche, a dish that’s so easy to make, turn out so badly? Were all prepared quiches like that?
To find out, I went on a quiche hunt, gathering examples from Costco and Whole Foods. (There’s no quiche, even a frozen one, that I could spot at the Dilworth Publix.)
To my delight, I discovered there are good quiches out there. These three were worthy contenders:
1. Costco. The superstore didn’t have quiche made in-house, but they’ve got a good option, La Terra Fina’s two-pack, with Spinach & Artichoke Florentine and Cheddar & Broccoli. Side by side with Harris Teeter’s spinach and artichoke version, it didn’t look promising. The Costco quiche was flatter, didn’t have edges on the crust, and had an unreal green color. But then we tasted it: It was tender, lightly cheesy and had lots of vegetable flavor, with a high ratio of spinach to egg. For $11.99 for two, it’s the best buy. You can freeze the second one for later.
2. Whole Foods Spinach and Feta Quiche. This tastes close to homemade, with lots of green spinach and chunks of feta in a tender egg base. It was the best-seasoned version, and the crust was crisp and tasty. It’s $12.99 and would feed four with a salad to round it out. Nice touch: You can get mini versions of all their quiche flavors.
3. Beverly’s Gourmet, available at Whole Foods. Beverly McLaughlin has strong local ties – she started her line of prepared vegetarian and vegan foods at the Mecklenburg County Market, founded by her grandmother, and sells at several locations, including the Atherton Market. Her Mediterranean Quiche was the best of the bunch. Very cheesy with a creamy egg filling, it had lots of vegetables and a tender tastes-like-home crust. It was the priciest, at $16.99 at Whole Foods, but it’s worth it.