I know it’s close to Spring when I start craving green things big time (I think I mentioned the same last year). We pull out all the frozen kale we put away last Summer, use up the fresh CSA micro-bitter-greens and baby Chard/Spinach (the Rainbow Chard from the farm this week is stunning!) and start drooling over Indian Saag or Palak and Trinidadian Callaloo or Moroccan Greens Dip or even just a nice slow braised pot of Collards (man, I love Collards). Much to my child’s dismay I support chucking in a couple of handfuls of Spinach to every red sauce and bean dish (Spaghetti/Meatballs, Pizza, Tuscan beans, yes). I can’t wait for late Spring and Summer Salads, foraging for Dandelion and Sorrel, and pulling Hosta, Daylilly, and Milkweed shoots for warm Spring vegetable dishes.
Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. Spring in mid-Maine is only ‘technically’ so – our weather can be pretty ‘Wintery’ for awhile. We’re in a warm spell right now (which hopefully won’t cut us short on Maple sap) but it’s possible we could still get snow. Last frost in my Zone 4b-5a isn’t until mid-May. It is generally colder inland in the Winter, and hotter in the Summer than the coast. And most of our growing space is on a North slope (the vegetable garden in 4b, the orchard in 5a). This year we will be growing mostly flowers (to sell, for beauty, in baskets, etc) and herbs and getting some perennial beds in place. I need to work on my dissertation in order to distract me from buying more seeds and seed supplies!
We are on celebration weekend – our chalkboard menu tells me we are full to the brim with ‘party foods’, Harold tonite (our Cheese/Bread board with Roasted Eggplant/fresh Cucumbers, Dukka, Pickles/Olives, Almonds, and fancy Salami), Wild Mushroom and Ham Ricotta/Black Olive Pepperoni Pizzas, New England Boiled Dinner for the holiday dinner on Saturday (Corned Beef, Potatoes, Cabbage, Turnips, Carrots, Rutabaga, Parsnips), and then likely ‘Red Flannel Hash’ supper on Sunday (with our lovely Eggs and crusty slices of buttered Sourdough) because Josh and Duende will likely be boiling syrup all day.
I still have lots of beets, so Roasted Beets on Micro-greens Salad will be happening, Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan and Lemon with Spring Lamb patties or Irish Lamb Stew, Maple-glazed Roast Chicken with Roasted Roots, and maybe this here Quiche (via Sur La Table). When I was newly on my own (on my very own, in my own apartment above a deliciously smelling donut shop and laundromat), I pretty much just made myself a Pea Quiche to eat for a few days (I’m so glad I’ve advanced a bit). There is something about Spring that says Brunch and Quiche (probably because I love asparagus in it and the light these days begs for lingering Sunday brunch ). With a light vinegary Pea-shoot/Cucumber Salad and buttered French radishes, I will be bringing in April happily.
I’ve heard people being very successful with Potato-style crusts (my guess is par-boil a waxy potato/Yukon Golds could work, slice/oil or butter and lay across bottom and sides of pie dish in 1 overlapping layer, then add quiche ingredients), and GF-Flour (like King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill); though I won’t judge you if you buy a frozen crust (the GF at Whole Foods are quite good!). What’s nice is that you can also substitute veg or cheese, too (Broccoli? still have frozen shredded Zucchini? and even Jack cheese is soft and yummy enough). Enjoy!
To make crust:
2 ½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
½ cup Ice Water
To make filling:
6 large Eggs
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
½ Tbsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
3 Scallions, end trimmed and thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
1 cup fresh Asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces, plus more for top
1 cup Gruyere, grated
½ cup Fontina, thinly sliced
½ cup Parmesan, grated + 1 Tbsp
Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, then whisk. Add butter and incorporate into flour using a pastry cutter until butter pieces are the size of peas. Add ½ cup water, then stir with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to clump together. Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and pliable. Roll into a large ball then flatten to 1″ disc and place between 2 pieces of parchment or wax paper, then let sit in fridge for 15-20 minutes to rest.
When ready, preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15″ circle, or about 3″ wider than your quiche pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pie pan, and then use your fingers to press onto the bottom and up the sides, crimping the edges over to line up evenly with the top. Use a fork to poke the bottom of the dough, ensuring it will bake flat. Bake for 20 minutes, and then set aside.
Meanwhile, combine eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl, then whisk to combine. Add in scallions, 1 cup asparagus, gruyere, fontina, and parmesan, reserving 1 Tbsp. Stir together, and then pour into prepared quiche pan.
Thinly slice a few pieces of reserved asparagus and lay on top of quiche. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp parmesan, then bake for 45-50 minutes, or until browned and bubbly on top. Cover with foil to prevent burning, and then continue baking an additional 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing. Serve immediately or at room temperature.