09 April 2010

It's Time for Asparagus!



This is the asparagus post...........





This asparagus post starts out with a big, bad, gross question... and you all know what it is. Yes, you do! Come on! Perhaps someone out there cares to research for the answer and get back to me... and the question is... why does asparagus make your pee smell really strange? Since I was a child, I've pondered this strange phenomenon ... but not long enough to do my own research.

Okay, now that I have that out of my system I can proceed to all the wonderful things I plan to make with the asparagus that will be coming in soon, soon, soon! Asparagus frittata, creamy asparagus soup decked with crunchy croutons, asparagus wrapped in phyllo dough, smoked salmon and asparagus canapes, roasted asparagus with prosciutto and Parmesan, asparagus and ham quiche, ...

Tonight, we still have leftover ham from our Easter dinner, it's asparagus and ham quiche time. I'm pushing the season on the asparagus... what I have is not local, but that ham is crying out to be honored with something wonderful, so I'm going ahead and doing the quiche.

Eggs, asparagus, ham, carmelized onions ... a wonderful combination! I have a pretty, creamy, pungent wedge of Parmesan to grate. Mmmmm...



Asparagus and Ham Quiche - printer friendly

Ham and Asparagus Quiche


Crust Ingredients:

8 tbsp. butter
1 ¾ c. unbleached flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
3 tbsp. ice water

Making the Quiche Shell:

1. Measure the flour, salt, and white pepper into a food processer bowl and pulse to incorporate spices.

2. Cut the butter into small chunks and toss in the flour.

3. Pulse to cut the butter into the flour until it resembles tiny crumbly pebbles.

4. Measure the iced water into a small bowl and whisk in the Dijon mustard until the mixture is completely into ‘solution’,

5. Add one tablespoon of the water/mustard at a time, pulse until the dough forms into a loose ball.

6. Turn the dough onto plastic wrap and form into into a tight ball. Wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to 350° F.

8. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured, cool, surface.

9. Lift into a large quiche or tart pan and press to shape. Trim the edges.

10. Line the shell with parchment paper and weight with ‘baking beans’ or ‘pie stones’ and bake for 20 minutes.

11. Remove from oven and rest for a few minutes. Scoop out ‘baking beans’ and gently remove parchment paper liner.

12. Cool a bit before pouring in quiche filling.




Quiche Ingredients:

1 ½ c. cream or half & half
3 large eggs
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
10 beautiful asparagus stalks, washed, sliced on the diagonal into 3/4–inch pieces, blanched for 1 minute, and refreshed in ice water.
¾ c. ham slices, chopped into small pieces, sautéed in a small bit of butter
½ of a large sweet white onion, thinly sliced and sautéed in a bit of butter until it begins to carmelize.
½ c. good quality grated Parmesan cheese, grated






Assembling the Quiche:

1. Drain the asparagus pieces and dry them with paper towels.

2. Arrange the asparagus and ham in the bottom of the prepared quiche shell.

3. Whip the eggs and cream and spices and pour gently over the ham and asparagus.

4. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top of the quiche and gently arrange the onion ribbons around the center. Press gently to wet them with the egg mixture.

5. Bake in a 350° F oven until the custard is ‘set’ and a knife inserted in the center of the quiche ‘comes clean’.

6. Cool a bit on a rack before cutting.

5 comments:

  1. Woah, that looks awesome! I was actually thinking of making a quiche today...and I love your crust recipe! I never thought to put dijon and white pepper in the mix. What a great idea!

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  2. Susan @ Lizzy10/4/10 9:25 AM

    Hi Lizzy... that idea of savory crusts goes back to French tradition, I believe. There are variations with other herbs, too. I have a zucchini tart recipe that has you add a bit of cardamom to the crust... weird, huh?

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  3. I'm still waiting for the green asparagus here. We only have the white ones so far...not my favorites. I'm checking the markets impatiently for the 'real' asparagus!

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  4. Susan @ Kate11/4/10 4:21 PM

    Hi Kate .... Are you back in Belgium now? We're headed to Germany and Prague in a couple days... and it's spargel season in the Odenwald! I remember the ladies at the farmers markets thinking me a crazy lady because I asked for the green spears... white is def preferred in Europe ... I'm up for it, as I'm so excited to be headed back to DE!

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  5. This looks wonderful. I planted asparagus last year and am forcing myself not to pick this year - must wait three years they say. However, we do have reasonably local asparagus in the market now. One of my favorites is to cook it with a bit of ham, shallots and some chicken broth then toss with pasta and parmesan. Makes a yummy, quick spring supper.

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