Saturday, April 16, 2011

Asparagus and Leek Quiche

I've changed up my food shopping method as of late. Instead of one big trip every week - I go every couple of days and pick up the things I need for the immediate future. I actually enjoy food shopping and I have noticed this cuts down in a big way on wasting food. Plus it gives me the freedom to decide what we're having for dinner from day to day, instead of planning out the whole menu for the week in one fell swoop.

It's also more enjoyable to go food shopping, for me at least, when you're not picking up a huge cart of items (especially when it comes to my least favorite part of food shopping, unpacking and putting away all of the food!) For instance yesterday I popped into Stop and Shop and picked up one grocery bag full of items - the fixings for Coq Au Vin, San Marzano canned tomatoes (to make a meat sauce for lasagna later this weekend), eggs, asparagus, leeks and Wheat Thins. Easy Peasy.

I have had it in my head to do an Aspargus and Leek Quiche for a while now. The truth is, I am obsessed with Asparagus. I buy it every time I go food shopping (sometimes up to 3 times a week!) and love finding new ways to use my favorite spring vegetable. Sometimes I just pan fry them in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. Or I will roast them in the oven. Or serve them with a poached egg for breakfast. Or the pasta dish I posted about recently. I am sensing Asparagus Mimosa in my future as well (don't worry it's not an Asparagus cocktail though at this point in my obsesseion I would not at all be surprised)

This quiche is a great Saturday late morning breakfast - but would also be darling at a brunch or even a light supper served with a salad.

To save time make the pie crust dough in advance. If you are making it the same day be sure and it an hour in the fridge before rolling it out.. Once you line your pie plate with the dough, pop it back in the fridge to chill while you do everything else. I posted my go to pie crust recipe below - I used to NEVER be able to make a decent pie crust but this simple recipe saved me. I also see nothing wrong with buying pre-made pie crust. That got me through some tough times!

Leek and Asparagus Quiche

1 chilled pie crust* (in a 9 inch pie pan)
1 lb asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into one inch pieces - reserve the tips for decorating
1 large leek (green + white parts), thinly sliced, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp butter
4 large eggs
1.5 cups cream (half and half or heavy cream, whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss (optional)
Salt, pepper, nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350
Cook the asparagus (except for the tips!) and leeks in the butter over medium heat until the asparagus is crisp tender, 5-6 minutes. Use salt and pepper as desired. Let cool.

Combine eggs, cream, 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Remove your chilled pie crust from the fridge and sprinkle the bottom with the cheese.

Pour the asparagus mixture on top and then pour the eggs over that. Arrange the asparagus tips decoratively on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating once to ensure even baking until puffed and golden.

Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. This is great warm or served at room temperature!

*Easy Pie Crust

1 1/4 cup flour 1 stick of butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
5 tbsp ice water
Using a food processor - pulse the flour, salt, sugar and butter together until coarse crumbs form. Dribble in the ice water, a tablespoon at a time and continue to pulse until the dough starts to stick together. It will look like wet sand - To test it pinch some of the mixture between your fingers, if it sticks you are done. Gather the dough together and form a 3/4 inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Or freeze for later use. I find it helpful to make a double or triple batch and freeze what I dont use that way I don't have to go through the whole rigarmarole of making the pie crust everytime I make a pie or tart or quiche.

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