Spring is doing its thing, pandemic or no pandemic. Trees are in bloom, the daffodils are out, isn’t it gorgeous? One of the best parts of Spring for a foodie is all those lovely new veggies available on the menu. Whilst I can’t go out to enjoy my favorite restaurants and taste what they’re conjuring up for their spring menus, I can get busy in my own kitchen.
This Spring Quiche makes the most of all the seasonal veggies out there, and you can change up the ingredients depending on what you find. It’s also a great way to use up those odd bits of veggies you may have lingering in that produce drawer.
You can make the crust by hand, which isn’t as complicated as you may think (and it’s kinda satisfying to let out that isolation frustration) or you can buy a pre-made one. If you buy a pie crust in the US, just check there’s no sugar in it. We like the Oranoque Orchards pie crusts, or any puff pastry or layers of phyllo will do the trick too. You could also skip the crust altogether and voilà, you have a frittata!
We’ve used leek and asparagus here, and given it a little oomph with goat cheese. You could also try sugar snap peas, English peas, haricots verts, peppers, onions, whatever you fancy, really. Raid that cheese drawer and add those bits of parm or gruyère. Leftover ham or even smoked salmon? Jackpot! Once you have the crust and the egg mixture down, the quiche is your canvas!
Ingredients for one 10-inch (25 cm) quiche
1-1/2 cups (200 g) flour
1/2 cup (100 g) cold butter, cut into small cubes
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon water (add it bit by bit, you may not need it all)
1 leek, pale green & white parts, washed well and sliced
1 bundle of asparagus spears (give or take a dozen spears), bottoms trimmed
1/2 log (around 5 oz/ 140 g) soft goat cheese, or similar quantity of another cheese
1-1/2 cups (350 ml) half and half, or a mixture of cream and milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
If you’re making the crust from scratch, prepare the quiche pan or tart dish. We used a traditional 10-inch (25 cm) tart pan with a removable base, but you can use a ceramic or glass pan too. Lightly grease the pan with a teaspoon of soft butter and wipe away the excess.
Put the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter cubes and rub with your fingers until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Add the water, teaspoon by teaspoon, and lightly press the dough together with your hands, you may not need all the water. Try not to knead it, you want to keep some flecks of butter for a flaky crust. At this stage it can still be a crumbly mixture, which will make it easier to press into a quiche pan, and saves you having to roll it out. Dump the crumbly dough into the prepared pan and using your fingers, press down the dough from the center out to the edges. It should be roughly 1/8-inch (3-4 mm) thick. Trim off any excess dough hanging over the edge with a knife. Place in the fridge for at least 15 mins. This will help prevent the dough from shrinking when it bakes.
Note: To do this in the food processor - pulse the flour, butter and salt until it looks and feels like sand. Drizzle in water a teaspoon at a time and pulse until it just comes together. Don’t over-pulse or you’ll end up with a tougher dough.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). When the dough has rested, poke a fork into it 8-10 times and lay a round of parchment paper over the dough. Fill the paper with dry rice or beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven, carefully remove the rice or beans and bake for another 5 minutes. Whilst it is baking, you can prepare the filling.
If you are using a store-bought dough, prepare it according to package instructions.
Place the asparagus spears on a roasting tin and drizzle with a bit of olive, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes to give them a head start, remove from the oven and set aside.
Heat a teaspoon of butter in a frying pan and sauté the leeks over medium heat until translucent . Spread the cooked leeks over the bottom of the quiche crust. Place the asparagus in the tart case. We like them in rows but this is YOUR canvas! :)
Use two teaspoons to dollop little mounds of goat cheese on top of the asparagus.
Mix the half and half, eggs, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the ham and leek mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes* until the liquid has set as is a light golden brown. Allow to cool at least ten minutes before cutting into it and serve with a crisp green salad.
*If you are using a quiche pan with a removable base, we recommend wrapping the bottom of the tin with foil. Sometimes the shape of these metal pans gets distorted in the dishwasher, causing some of the cream mixture to leak out, creating a very messy oven. Been there, done that!