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Broccoli and clothbound cheddar torta A Spanish crustless quiche made with aged cheddar and a hint of cayenne

Broccoli and clothbound cheddar torta

An easy recipe with a gourmet result

A torta (not to be confused with a tortilla, which is an omelet) is the Spanish version of a crustless quiche, although it’s a bit lighter. It is easy to prepare, looks like a showpiece, and of course, it’s marvelously delicious.

Today’s torta is made with broccoli sautéed with a fresh cayenne pepper (which spikes up the dish without making it spicy-hot) and a sublime clothbound cheddar. If you’ve never tasted clothbound cheddar, you’re in for an exhilarating ride! It reminds me of the famed English Farmhouse Cheddar, with all its sweet caramel and tangy, nutty, deep, complex flavors.

A tribute to fine cheesemaking, from Vermont to Wisconsin

My first introduction to clothbound cheddar was in Vermont, where I tasted Cabot Creamery’s exceptional clothbound cheddar, which is crafted by the expert cheesemakers of the Cellars at Jasper Hill. There, the young cheddar wheels are wrapped in muslin, then aged for 10 to 14 months in carefully controlled temperature, humidity and airflow. Special molds start to grow on the cloth, and in time they impart to the cheese its signature flavor. I fell in love!

A couple of years later, though, my love affair with clothbound cheddar took an even more delicious turn: While visiting Wisconsin, I was invited to Bleu Mont Dairy for a tour of their cave. This is where I finally had a close encounter with the superb cheese… one that I shall never forget. Stepping into Bleu Mont’s underground cave was exhilarating – rows of cheddar wheels, totem-like, were waiting patiently for the molds to work their magic. The pungent, earthy smell that hit my nostrils as I entered the cave made me want to move right in.

This torta is my tribute to Bleu Mont Dairy, to the Cellars at Jasper Hill and to all the cheesemakers whose skills and patience deliver such goodness to our tables.

Say cheese… and torta!

Murray’s Cheese, based in NYC, sells both Cabot’s and Bleu Mont’s cheddars. They ship anywhere in the US. Make sure to order enough for this recipe and for savoring the cheese on its own.

Clothbound cheddar


Food & wine pairing: California Chardonnay with broccoli and cheddar torta

White wine icon
Here’s where a California Chardonnay can shine! The texture and weight of the wine goes perfectly with the richness of the cheese, while pairing wonderfully with the broccoli too..


Broccoli and clothbound cheddar torta

serves 6 to 8
active time: 45 min

For the broccoli

  1. 1 tablespoon sea salt (to blanch the broccoli)
  2. 1 large bunch broccoli (1 1/2 lbs) (680 g) – florets cut in 1 1/2″ pieces (6 cups)
  3. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1 small cayenne pepper – stem removed and finely chopped or 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  5. 2 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the torta

  1. 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/4 cups milk
  3. 3/4 cup heavy cream
  4. 8 extra large eggs – lightly beaten
  5. 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  6. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  7. 1/4 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan
  8. 8 oz (225 g) clothbound cheddar (or aged cheddar) – coarsely grated
  1. 9″ non-stick spring-form pan – lightly buttered and floured

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
  2. Step 1:camera icon Rinse the broccoli, trim off the stalks and cut florets in 1 1/2″ pieces. Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes. Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the salt and blanch the florets for 2 minutes until barely tender. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice water bath until cool. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
  3. Step 2:camera icon Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, cayenne and garlic. Sauté for 15 seconds, until the garlic begins to sizzle and release its flavor. Add the broccoli and toss until the florets are well coated with the oil. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with the salt. Toss again and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Step 3:camera icon Place the flour in a large bowl. Add a bit of the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the balance of the milk and whisk until well blended. Add the cream and whisk again until well blended. Add the eggs, salt and pepper and whisk until well blended. Add the cheeses and broccoli and stir until well incorporated. Pour the broccoli-egg mixture into the prepared mold and spread the broccoli pieces evenly in the pan. Place on a jelly roll pan (to avoid spills) and bake for about 1 hour until the center has risen and the top is golden-brown and puffed up. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before un-molding. Serve warm.
  5. Cook’s note: The torta can be made up to 4 hours ahead, and kept in its mold in a cool place at room temperature. Before serving, bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for 6 to 8 minutes until warm.

Viviane’s tip
  1. If you decide to cut the recipe in half, make sure to use a smaller mold… otherwise, the torta will be too thin and dry.

Broccoli and clothbound cheddar torta


Torta, broccoli, cheddar

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13 Comments

  • Reply mjskit November 6, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Great new look Vivianne! The header with the tomatoes is quite lovely. And that torte – breathtaking! Can’t get prettier than that and I love the use f the aged cheddar.

  • Reply lisaiscooking October 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    It’s definitely a showpiece! It’s gorgeous. Love the cross section of broccoli in the slice. And, the cheese sounds divine.

    • Reply Viviane October 27, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you, Lisa! I must say the cross section of the broccoli was a fluke! ;-)

  • Reply Catalina @ Shades of Pink October 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    This is beautiful, healthy and delicious, and I am sure that even my toddler would love it, making it this weekend!

    • Reply Viviane October 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Thank you, Catalina! I made this torta for my nieces and they wolfed it down… As you know, that’s most gratifying. Happy baking!

  • Reply Evelyne@cheapethniceatz October 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Much prefer this to a quiche with crush and the cheese sounds amazing. I have made English Farmhouse Cheddar (yes made THE cheese) and loved it so can imagine what this cheese is like.

  • Reply Thalia @ butter and brioche October 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Wow this torta looks delicious! I am loving the height of it especially.. definitely a recipe I need to recreate!

    • Reply Viviane October 18, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Hi Thalia, Thank you for your kind words… I hope you enjoy this torta! Bon appétit!

  • Reply El October 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    As usual, I’m ready to get in the car and drive to your house for dinner. Amazing recipe. Beautiful.

  • Reply Angie@Angie's Recipes October 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I prefer crustless quiche….your torta looks scrumptious!

    • Reply Viviane October 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you, Angie!

    • Reply Anna Baty October 27, 2014 at 2:59 am

      I have just made this torta. What a huge success! I have consumed 1/4 of it all by myself with no regrets. It was udderly delicious and worth every penny and time I spent tracking down the cloth bound cheddar. I found Cabot’s at my local Wegman’s. I will definately make it again. I used cayenne pepper instead of fresh cayenne. Also I reduced the salt by 1/2 tsp., because I am a little more sensitive to salt maybe than most.
      I screwed up and set the oven for 350 degrees. Then I tried to compensate by baking it for an additional 10 mins at the correct temperature of 375 degrees. It turned out great…. Beautifully puffed and brown on top, moist with great flavor inside.
      Thank you, Viviane
      Anna

      • Reply Viviane October 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm

        Hi Anna! You are most welcome. I am delighted to know you enjoyed this torta (and thank you also for all the details, which I loved reading)! I hope you saved some of the cloth-bound cheddar to enjoy on its own. Isn’t it absolutely stunning? Bon appétit!

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