Tuesday, November 23, 2010

White Asparagus Leek and Tomato Quiche

     Quiche used to be a popular menu item for brunch and lunch in restaurants a few years ago.  I sold thousands of orders of quiche in Florida French restaurants.
      One French cafe that I cooked in, had fashion shows 3 times a week.  The older retired ladies loved a light lunch and a fashion show.  Soup and a quiche were their favorite two lunch items.  I ran three quiche du jour and 5 soups every lunch.  I created some great combinations of ingredients in my quiches.
     The Corsican French Chef that I apprenticed for at that cafe had taught culinary arts in three chef schools in France.  I thought he was crazy when he put so many quiche and soups on the menu.  He said to me "That my friend, is what elderly ladies prefer to eat here!  We also happen to turn an eighty five percent profit on those items!"  It all made sense when he put a dollar sign on his statement. 
     Pate Brisee Recipe:  Place about 1 cup of flour into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add 3/4 tablespoon of sugar.
     Rice the flour by adding a few drops of ice water at a time while stirring with a whisk.  (The flour should look like grains of rice.)
     Cut 1 1/2 ounces of unsalted butter into pea size pieces and drop them in a bowl of ice water.
     Gently add a few pieces of the chilled hard butter at a time to the riced flour.
     Work the dough lightly with your fingers and for a minimal period of time leaving exposed small pieces of butter.
     Chill the dough till it becomes very firm.
     Quiche Shell:  Roll the pate brisee into a thin sheet on a floured counter top.
     Lightly butter a small pop ring mold or pie pan.
     Roll the pie dough into a sheet and line the pan to form the crust.  (The crust can have absolutely no holes in it or the quiche batter will leak out.)
     Completely fill the pie shell with dried beans.
     Bake the pie shell in a 350 degree oven till it is almost ready to turn golden color.
     Remove the pie shell from the oven and let it cool.
     Remove the dried beans from the shell.
     Brush the pie shell with egg wash and return it to the 350 degree oven for one minute.
     Set the sealed pie shell on a counter top to cool.
     Quiche Filling:  Place 1 small handful of peeled white asparagus tips and pieces into a sauce pot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of thin sliced leek.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped tomato.
     Add a very small splash of water.
     Blanch the vegetables over high heat, till all of the liquid evaporates.
     Place the vegetables on a plate to cool.  (Putting raw vegetables in a quiche causes a loose runny texture.  This step removes some of the liquid that may seep from the vegetables while baking.)
     White Asparagus Leek and Tomato Quiche:  Sprinkle a little bit of grated gruyere cheese on the bottom of the pie shell.  (Use swiss cheese if gruyere is not available.)
     Place 1/3 of the vegetable mixture into the pie shell.
     Alternate layers of cheese and vegetable, till the pie shell is completely filled up.  (Do not press the ingredients down into the pie shell!)
     Place 3 eggs into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 cup of milk.  
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Whisk the custard ingredients together.
     Slowly pour the custard over the ingredients in the pie shell till it is full.
     Place 3 peeled white asparagus tips that are cut in half on top of the quiche as a garnish.
     Bake the quiche in a 350 degree oven.
     When you can stick a tooth pick in the quiche and no liquid batter is on the tooth pick when it is removed, then the quiche is finished baking.  Baking time is about 20 minutes.
     Let the quiche cool for 2 minutes.
     Remove the quiche from the pop ring mold and set it on a plate.
     Garnish with a small lemon wedge and a parsley sprig.
     The delicate aroma of quiche does make people smile!  The flavors of cheese and egg custard batter melds with the vegetable flavors so very well.  Quiche is always better when is is made to order.  Take the time to enjoy a soup or salad while waiting for the quiche to bake.  The old adage "Real Men Do Not Eat Quiche" was never true.  If it was true, then there would be plenty of quiche for us ladies!  ...  Shawna

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