Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Asparagus, Leek and Gruyère Quiche

Asparagus, Leek and Gruyère Quiche (Adapted from Everyday Food)

For the crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the filling

1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced (using only the white and light green parts)
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
pinch fresh ground nutmeg
4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded Gruyère cheese

To prepare the crust

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Add cubes of butter - using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Sprinkle mixture with 2 tablespoons ice water and continue to work dough until it is still crumbly, but it holds together when squeezed with fingers without being sticky. If the dough is still too dry, continue adding sprinkles of the remaining water to get the right consistency - try not to over work the dough.

Scoop out dough and form it into a disc - wrap well with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour. Remove and unwrap dough - roll to an 11 to 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9" pie plate coated with cooking spray - fold edges under and flute. Cover and place into the refrigerator until well chilled.

To prepare the filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in lowest position.

In a large skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add leek - cook for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add asparagus - season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 4 to 6 minutes more. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper and pinch of nutmeg.

Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle bottom of pie crust with the cheese - top with asparagus mixture. Pour egg mixture over the top. Place into the oven and bake, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the center is set, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes about 6 servings.

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