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Friday, December 13, 2013

Asparagus & Leek Quiche/Tart




I've been experimenting to come up with some new ideas for Christmas Morning Brunch.  I love Breakfast Casserole (with sausage, eggs, cheese, etc...) - but I'm ready for change.  Most of my family will be at their in-laws this Christmas morning, but my youngest son & I still want something on the unusual side.  

I found this recipe, and since I already had a tart pan - decided to give it a whirl.  I've always seen Leeks in the produce department, but I've never had the desire to try them.  




My take on leeks?  Less onion-y, not as intense in flavor as green onions, faster to slice and use, and they have a very earthy flavor.  I think I'm converted.  They are more expensive than green onions, but they yield a greater amount when sliced.  Two large leeks cost anywhere from $1.00 (at my discount store - Ream's) to $3.00 (at Smith's/Kroger).  Take care to wash them thoroughly, as they have dirt hiding throughout the layers.




Asparagus is also expensive right now - as spring is the season for this favorite vegetable of mine.  But it was worth it to me.  They are very thinly sliced in this quiche - making a little go a long way.  





The rest of the recipe is very simple.  Half-and-half, eggs, a few seasonings, and any kind of white cheese you enjoy.  Monterey Jack, Gruyere (very expensive), even Mozzarella or Parmesan.  I used the big economy bag of Three Cheese Blend (Mozzarella, Provolone, Cheddar).    

I had several pie crusts left in my freezer from Thanksgiving that I thawed and rolled out quickly.  That made it even easier.  The crust in this quiche is simply there to hold the filling in place.  You don't notice it much, as the filling is the star.  

Asparagus & Leek Quiche/Tart  (adapted from freshtart.com)

Pie crust, fitted into a 9-10" pie plate or tart pan

1 Tbs butter
1 leek (white & green parts only), washed, halved, and thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb), tough ends removed, thinly sliced
Salt & pepper
Ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
1-1/4 cups half-and-half
1 to 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese - white cheeses work well

In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Add leeks & asparagus.  Season with salt & pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the asparagus is tender/crisp - about 6-8 minutes.  Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and the half-and-half.  Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and a pinch of ground nutmeg.  

Place pie pan on a rimmed baking sheet (in case of spill-over).  

Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese.  Top with asparagus mixture, then top with remaining cheese.  

Pour egg mixture over the top, distributing it evenly.  

Bake @ 350° until quiche is just set - about 50-60 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes before slicing to serve.  

Quiche can be reheated in 350° oven until warm in center - about 30 minutes.  

*If baking in small tart pans - reduce baking time by about 20 minutes.  




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