Wow, did we have THE BEST asparagus quiche tonight. So good. There’s a tiny 1/8th of it left. That’s it. Even better than our previous favorite. The husband said it was his new favorite. Better yet, I didn’t have to buy anything at the store. That’s actually how we arrived at this quiche. Because who wants to bike to the store at 5pm? Not me. This was not planned to go here, but sometimes when good food happens, you just have to blog about it.
What did we have to work with? Well, a delivery moments earlier of 4 dozen eggs from our chicken co-op we have with a few friends. We’re up to 26 hens now, so we’re getting a lot of eggs! I’d bought some asparagus recently, and a spare shallot was laying around. So I looked up asparagus quiche. I glanced over a few recipes, and finally settled on one on Martha Stewart’s site. Why? Well, duh, it’s Martha. Also, chopped up bits of asparagus instead of big giant chunks. The recipe had leeks, but my shallot would be great instead. I also had a really nice Comté cheese I’d picked up at Whole Foods in my trials of awesome cheeses with real animal rennet. (The vegetarian stuff is almost always made with corn and makes me itchy.) I didn’t know until looking it up now that it is actually a type of Gruyère, which is the cheese often used in quiche. Perfect.
I set to making my crust. Now, I do a bunch of gluten free cooking because it does tend to work better for my tummy. But I don’t always. I did not today. Sorry! This is the same basic crust I use from the red plaid cookbook for everything. I did take a hint from the recipe I was working from and use a little more butter than usual. A whole 7 tablespoons. Why seven? It’s more than the 1/3 cup I usually use and less than the 1/2 cup in Martha’s. Plus, I could save the last tablespoon to saute the asparagus. I know, weird but it makes sense!
Next, I chopped the asparagus into thin slices on the diagonal and minced the shallot. Those went into a skillet with the remaining tablespoon of butter, already melted and starting to bubble. I sprinkled salt and pepper over them and cooked them for a little more than five minutes. I turned off the heat and allowed the mixture to wait for me.
Meanwhile, Dave, my sous chef, grated the cheese for me. I mixed the eggs and cream. I didn’t have true half-and-half, so I used half whole cream and half whole milk. Because that’s what half-and-half is anyway. Then I assembled. This recipe was different than others, in that all the cheese went at the bottom. Genius! We usually complain that when we layer it or add it on top, it all floats and makes a thick top crust. This way it stayed under the veggies and helped make the main layer cheesy and creamy. We did keep a small handful, maybe 2 tablespoons, to sprinkle on top. Over the cheese goes the asparagus, then the egg mixture gets poured over the top. Quiche is crazy simple, but super elegant. Wow. And that last piece there? That’s my breakfast for in the morning.
Adapted from Everyday Food, April 2009
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
- 1 1/4 cup white unbleached flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4-6 Tbsp cold water
- 1 cup asparagus, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 cup Gruyere or similar cheese, grated
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup half-and-half
- Salt and pepper
Pie Crust: Mix flour and 1/2 tsp salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut 7 Tbsp cold butter into small cubes, add to flour, cut in with pastry cutter until fine meal. Add cold water a tablespoon at a time, mixing into flour with a fork, until a dough forms. Roll dough out to a circle about 12-13″ in diameter for a 9″ pie plate. Carefully place dough in pie plate, trimming edges 1/2″ away from the plate and folding under the excess. I like to flute the edges with a fork and dock the crust all over to prevent air bubbles. More detailed pie tips are here. Set your completed pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet in case any of your delicious filling decides it wants to escape.
Filling: Place remaining tablespoon of butter into a skillet on medium high heat. Add asparagus and shallot. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over, mix to coat, Stir occasionally for 5-7 minutes, until asparagus is tender but not squishy and shallot is translucent. Turn off heat and set aside to cool slightly. Mix eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper, plus a pinch of nutmeg with a whisk or fork. Get the mixture just to frothy on top. Spread grated cheese along the bottom of the prepared crust, reserving some, if desired, for the top. Evenly add asparagus mixture over the cheese. Pour egg mixture over the top, finishing with remaining cheese. Bake for 50-60 minutes, turning halfway. Your quiche shouldn’t jiggle much in the middle when it is done. You can test for doneness with a knife inserted near the middle. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes, depending on how long you can stand to wait. Enjoy!