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Thursday 17 November 2011

The Happy Egg Co. Smoked Salmon & Fresh Spinach Quiche

The Happy Egg Company seemed to pop up quite suddenly. I don't even remember seeing them around last year, and yet now even my small, badly stocked 'local' supermarket branches care carrying their eggs and other products. I do feel that a lot of these companies - particularly those specialising in pies and quiches - are jumping on the bandwagon that started rolling along when Higgidy turned up on the high streets, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Variety is always good and, as long as the competition is all about quality and range, rather than market saturation, we're in for lots of very imaginative fillings.

Which brings me to this salmon and spinache quiche. Neat, huh?

The folks at The Happy Egg Company make a big thing of the fact that their 'British eggs' are 'always free range', and also that the eggs in their boxes are not consistently sized. I suppose this is intended to assure us that the chickens are truly 'free range' and that their egg laying is completely natural rather than coming as the result of battery farm homogeny. Since I can't tell the difference between any other supplier's 'medium eggs' and 'large eggs', all it meant to me was that I saw eggs that were clearly of different shapes and sizes, though their volume appears to be fairly consistent.

Ultimately, though, it comes down to how they work in this particular quiche. Much like any ready made quiche, this can be served hot or cold and, somewhat unusually for me, I decided to try it hot. Possibly due to the smoked salmon...

Now, the first thing that tends to strike me about any quiche that lists spinach as an ingredient is that spinach ends up being the main component. I'm not against spinach in and of itself, but when so much is used it overloads every other flavour in the product, you can tell it's been used as a cheap filler.

Not so with this quiche. There's a decent amount of spinach in there, but not enough to overpower the eggy flavour of the quiche filling, let alone the salmon.

And the salmon? Wow.

Really, just wow.

I know the packaging quite clearly states that it's smoked salmon (though it does have the word 'smoked' in a substantially smaller size than the word 'salmon'), but I honestly didn't expect the smoked flavour to survive either being put in a quiche, or being reheated in said quiche... and yet it does, very well. The saltier, piquant flavour shines through, and is a great addition to almost every mouthful. By comparison, think of how bacon ends up tasting in a quiche - yes, you can taste that it's bacon, but it doesn't compare to the flavour of freshly grilled/fried strips of bacon. This smoked salmon is almost as flavourful as smoked salmon served on its own. The creamy egg filling smoothes out the flavour without in any way reducing it.

On the downside, there's absolutely nothing special about the crust... but then, that just reminds me how spoilt we are by Higgidy's seeded shortcrust pastry. Most quiches tend to have very plain bases so as not to detract from the content, and I'd venture the opinion that a quiche like this one could support a more elaborate pastry, but I'm not surprised the risk wasn't taken.

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