Asparagus Quiche

Asparagus Quiche
Asparagus Quiche

One of the first local veggies to appear on PEI each year is asparagus.  This vegetable is very versatile and is often used not only for its earthy flavor but also for its presentation.  With its long straight stems with a texture tip end, asparagus turns a bright green color when cooked so it plates well and makes a meal attractive.

A few years ago, I paid a visit to local asparagus grower, Tim Dixon in North Tryon, PEI, and you can read about my visit to Tim’s farm here.  Each year, I get a supply of asparagus from Tim and create a new recipe using this springtime vegetable.  Last year, I posted my recipe for asparagus soup which you can access here.

This year, I created an asparagus quiche that can be eaten warm or at room temperature which makes it a good buffet or picnic food.  Pair it with a good green salad and it is suitable for brunch, lunch, or an informal supper.

What makes a quiche flavorful (in addition to the primary ingredient(s)) is the egg-milk filling.  The contributing factors to the flavor depend on what cheese blend is used and the choice of herbs and spices.  In fact, I often use my basic quiche filling and change up the cheeses and seasonings and end up with a brand new quiche.

I recommend using at least whole milk (or, if you want to make it really rich, either cream or blend) in a quiche.  Using skim or partly skim milk will not give the creamy texture that is characteristic of quiches and I find the no-fat/low fat milk makes a more runny filling.

For the asparagus quiche, I chose to use a blend of six cheeses:  Onion and red pepper Gouda from PEI’s Glasgow Glen Farm in New Glasgow, marble cheddar cheese from Summerside’s ADL Dairy, mozzarella and a three cheese blend of Parmesan-Romano-Asiago from Kraft. I chose to lightly season the filling with dried dill, basil, garlic powder, and just a hint of nutmeg. Now, you don’t have to use all six cheeses.  The quiche is quite tasty with just a cheddar-mozzarella mix of cheeses. But, the six-cheese blend steps it up a notch and makes a lovely rich quiche!

I used cremini mushrooms because of their flavor which pairs really well with the earthy flavor of the asparagus.  However, white button mushrooms would also be fine.  Add a bit of onion and you have the makings of a tasty quiche.  Adding the prosciutto is optional to this quiche but it adds a taste  dimension.

I always par-bake my pie shells – usually 10-12 minutes in all that is required.  Be sure to lightly fork-prick the shell bottom and sides so the shell doesn’t rise up with an air bubble underneath.  I also line the shell with parchment paper and place  a layer of beans on top to help keep the shell flat during par-baking. This process is often referred to as “blind baking“.  I make my own pastry because I love making pastry but a frozen pie shell would work fine, too.

Asparagus cooks super quick and it is easy to overcook it and end up with limp, soggy asparagus.  For this recipe, the asparagus only needs to be par-cooked by placing it in boiling water for 2 minutes then quickly rinsing it under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Be sure to let the asparagus drain well and cool completely before slicing it into 1/2″ – 1” diagonal pieces.

Asparagus Quiche

Ingredients:

1 – 9” pie shell, partially baked
1½ cups fresh asparagus, par-boiled and sliced diagonally into ½” – 1” pieces (apx. 6 oz after the woody ends have been snapped off)
½ cup onion, finely chopped
3 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
¾ cup whole milk or cream
¼ tsp dried dill
¾ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. garlic powder
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 oz. grated cheddar cheese
2 oz. shredded Parmesan-Romano-Asiago mix
2 oz. grated Gouda
1 oz. grated mozzarella
2 oz. prosciutto, chopped or shredded into bite-size pieces

Instructions:

Assemble ingredients.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

With fork tines, lightly prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside while preparing quiche ingredients.

In pot of boiling salted water (you only need a small amount of water, not a full pot), steam asparagus spears for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and let cool before cutting into ½” – 1-inch diagonal pieces. Reserve the tip ends of the asparagus, about ½ cup, for top of quiche.

In medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the milk. Add the dill, basil, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

In separate bowl, combine the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses together.

Sprinkle cheese over bottom of par-baked pie shell.

Sprinkle onion on top of the cheese.

Add the sliced mushrooms and then the asparagus pieces.

In small bowl, combine the Parmesan-Romano-Asiago cheese mix with the Gouda.

Set aside ⅔ cup of the cheese for the top of the quiche. Sprinkle remaining cheese over vegetables.

Next, sprinkle on the prosciutto.

Arrange the ½ cup of reserved asparagus tips on top in desired design.

Pour the milk-egg mixture over the cheese and vegetables.

Sprinkle the remaining ⅔ cup of cheese over the entire quiche.

Place quiche on baking sheet on rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Bake for 5 minutes then immediately reduce the heat to 375°F. Bake for approximately 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted into centre of quiche comes out clean and centre is set.

Let quiche stand for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving. May be served warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6-8 servings

My featured PEI products in this recipe were:

Island-grown asparagus – from the farm of Tim Dixon in North Tryon

Mushrooms – purchased from Paul Offer’s booth at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market

Cheddar Cheese – ADL Dairy, Summerside PEI

Gouda Cheese – Glasgow Glen Farm, New Glasgow, PEI

Milk – Perfection Foods, Charlottetown, PEI

 

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Asparagus Quiche

Yield: 6-8

A delicious quiche featuring fresh asparagus and a blend of cheeses

Ingredients

  • 1 – 9” pie shell, partially baked
  • 1½ cups fresh asparagus, parboiled and sliced diagonally into ½” – 1” pieces (apx. 6 oz after ends have been snapped off)
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup whole milk or cream
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • ¾ tsp. dried basil
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 oz. grated mozzarella
  • 2 oz. shredded Parmesan-Romano-Asiago mix
  • 2 oz. grated Gouda
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, chopped or shredded into bite-size pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. With fork tines, lightly prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and set aside while preparing quiche ingredients.
  4. In pot of boiling salted water (you only need a small amount of water, not a full pot), steam asparagus spears for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and let cool before cutting into ½” – 1-inch diagonal pieces. Reserve the bud ends of the asparagus, about ½ cup for top of quiche.
  5. In medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the milk. Add the dill, basil, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  6. In separate bowl, combine the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses together. Sprinkle cheese over bottom of par-baked pie shell.
  7. Sprinkle onion on top of the cheese.
  8. Add the sliced mushrooms and then the asparagus pieces.
  9. In small bowl, combine the Parmesan-Romano-Asiago cheese mix with the Gouda. Set aside 2/3 cup of the cheese for the top of the quiche and sprinkle remaining cheese over the vegetables.
  10. Next, sprinkle on the prosciutto. Arrange the ½ cup of reserved asparagus tips on top of quiche in desired design.
  11. Pour the milk-egg mixture over the cheese and vegetables.
  12. Sprinkle the remaining 2/3 cup of cheese over the entire quiche.
  13. Place quiche on baking sheet on rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Bake for 5 minutes then immediately reduce the heat to 375°F. Bake for approximately 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted into centre of quiche comes out clean and centre is set.
  14. Let quiche stand for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving. May be served warm or at room temperature.
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