What a great start to November, some rain and some beautiful fresh produce to enjoy. Fresh seasonal asparagus is the star of this dish. Asparagus spears cooked whole in a quiche retain a light crunch and give a delicious flavour, a herald to springtime. Does canned asparagus really come from the same vegetable? While it's in season I am embracing the availability and the price of this precious vegetable. The asparagus I used only cost $1.00 per bunch yesterday at the supermarket. Sadly I can't grow it here in North Queensland, however in the the southern states and in the Northern Hemisphere I imagine the quality and price would be even better. I love a delicious quiche for lunch, do you?
If you have the time, and love making your own shortcrust pastry I would certainly do that for this quiche, however if you are time poor and asparagus-rich, good quality pastry is available from delis and some independent supermarkets, even though I will admit that I had already bought mine from the supermarket and couldn't waste it. I discovered this recipe when I was watching the vibrant Alice Zaslavsky on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) Morning breakfast program last week, when she was featuring a selection of delicious dishes using fresh asparagus. This was one of them. Alice's original recipe said to use a 20 cm quiche dish, however I found that too small for this recipe when I first made it, but waste not want not. I made a very small quiche minus the pastry using the leftover filling that wouldn't fit in the quiche dish, so I think just a normal size 23 cm quiche dish is more suitable. I suspect this was just a typo, and honestly, Alice would need to be up cooking at 3.00 am on the same day that she appears on Morning Breakfast and looking as "fresh as a daisy", so a typo on her website is very understandable.
If however you would prefer to eat a quiche minus the pastry, no problem, just lightly grease a quiche dish and pour in the eggy filling and add the asparagus spears, and it will still be delicious. I have another favourite classic and easy quiche recipe, no pastry, that I often make for a quick lunch, which is minus the bacon but has 2 cups of chopped vegetables in it, and I think that chopped fresh asparagus would also be perfect in that one. Here is the recipe for it if you are interested; My Easy Vegetable Quiche recipe
1 packet of shop-bought shortcrust pastry, thawed, however home made would be much better
2 bunches asparagus, bottom ends snapped off
1 bunch spring onion, white bottoms finely sliced ( reserve the greens for another recipe)
2 rashers bacon, use streaky if you wish, finely chopped (optional)
50 g butter
1 sprig of dill, finely chopped, not essential but nice if you have it
1/4 bunch of chives, finely chopped
A few good scrapes of fresh nutmeg, or 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg spice
Pinch of sea salt
200 ml double cream
4 whole eggs
100 g grated cheddar cheese, or gruyere for a more up market result
Torn Goats cheese (optional) and chopped herbs to garnish if you are entertaining
Preheat oven to 220C
- In a 22-23cm quiche dish, pat the pastry into each corner, leaving the overhang.
- Dock the base with a fork ( Alice says this is just a fancy way of saying "poke") We used to say prick with a fork! How terminology changes. This is a technique used with blind baking, so that the steam can escape preventing the pie crust from puffing up in the oven.
- Pop the baking paper on top of the pastry, fill the dish with rice or dried beans or baking weights, and blind-bake for 20 minutes. Make sure your oven timer is on, time flies.
|Rice used for blind baking. I keep this in a coffee jar in my pantry and just keep reusing it, but only for blind baking|
5. Pull the blind-baked pastry base out of the oven after 20 minutes, remove the baking paper and rice (don't spill the beans), and return the pastry case to the oven for another 10 mins.
6. Once the base has baked through, sprinkle grated cheese, cooked bacon and spring onion, push in the asparagus (either whole, or chopped into rustic pieces) then pour over the cream and egg mix, being careful that it only reaches the edge of your pastry, not over the top of it.
7. Turn the oven down to 150C and then bake the quiche for 35 minutes or until egg mix has set. Test with a skewer that it comes out clean. Mine needed 40 minutes.This depends on the size of your dish really.
Thanks for dropping by and I would love to hear from you if you have taken the time to read this far.
Best wishes and have a great weekend.