Parmesan Asparagus Quiche

Spring in the south is such a wonderful experience. Lanes dotted with cherry blossoms and flowering dogwoods trace the winding curves and culs-de-sac that seem to define the landscape of the early warming months.

I love living in a place that is so focused and committed to improvement, livability and sustainability of the architectural elements within a city. Work happens tremendously fast with buildings being erected seemingly overnight. The city is growing and you can feel the creative energy and the joy that the locals bring to their work.

The farmer’s markets have opened again (Charlottesville City Market had the first market day of the season last Saturday), and we have already purchased so many wonderful things for our summer salad garden. It’s really been enjoyable to teach my two-year-old son about planting and watching living things grow and blossom under your touch. He reminds me to water the plants every morning; I take it as a sign that he will help me cure my black thumb.

If I may be honest, quiche isn’t a particularly nostalgic dish for me, but I’ve come to love it in my adult life because of the ease of making and flavor but mostly because it’s such a clever way to use some of the vegetables that you are trying to finish in a hurry. I tend to buy too many at one time (life is a process, no?) so this helps on those nights that we have too many half-used veggies around.

I tend to always have fresh cream on hand this time of year and I love this brand. Because it not homogenized, Snowville’s cream is perfect for making butter and ghee. (More on both coming soon!)

If I’m short on time, I will buy ready-made pie pastry from the grocery store. Today, it’s we are cozy here at home, planting, painting and getting some spring cleaning done, so I’ve decided to make a crumbly, buttery pastry that is pressed into the bottom of the pan and pre-baked before filling it with delicious crisp veggies and creamy cheese.

The beautiful thing is, whatever you have around the house will work! I have asparagus, tomato, and parsley. Add in a bit of ham, bacon or anchovies and this is hearty enough for dinner.

The crust I’m using is a Pat-in-the-Pan Butter Dough recipe from the tried-and-true Joy of Cooking cookbook. This book is usually somewhere in my kitchen rather than on the shelves because I use it as a reference in so much of my daily cooking. I’m sure it’s a must for any home cook, having detailed instructions and techniques to make almost any dish turn out flawlessly.

Now, for the dough: preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour and a 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and add 1 stick of butter that has been softened. Use two forks to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Turn mixture out into a small casserole dish.

Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream over the top and stir until the crumbs hold together when pinched. Pat the dough down on the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Use a fork and prick holes in the dough.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Whisk one egg yolk together with a pinch of salt and brush the mixture over the crust while it’s warm–then return it to the oven for a couple of minutes to let it set. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly. Sprinkle a cup and a half of shredded Parmesan or cheddar over the warm pastry. Reduce the heat in the oven to 375 degrees.

Now, for the filling: whisk 4 eggs with 3/4 cup of cream together in a medium-sized bowl. Add a half a teaspoon of pepper and a teaspoon salt. Add a tablespoon chopped chives and two tablespoons chopped parsley and mix enthusiastically until the mixture has achieved consistency.

Chop the tomatoes and arrange around the whole of the quiche. Leave the asparagus in long spears and arrange over the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the egg mixture has puffed and browned. Let rest until cool enough to touch.

Cut into wedges and serve with a baby greens salad. This quiche is also pretty excellent served at room temperature, making it a fantastic picnic dish.

May you have many days and evenings with the comfort of this springtime favorite–even if it is a new favorite.

Parmesan Asparagus Quiche

Serves 4-6

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, softened
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan or cheddar

For the filling:

4 eggs
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl and add butter. Use two forks to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Turn mixture out into a small casserole dish.

Drizzle heavy cream over the top and stir until the crumbs hold together when pinched. Pat the dough down on the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Use a fork and prick holes in the dough.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Whisk one egg yolk together with a pinch of salt and brush the mixture over the crust while it’s warm–then return it to the oven for a couple of minutes to let it set. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly. Sprinkle shredded Parmesan or cheddar over the warm pastry. Reduce the heat in the oven to 375 degrees.

Next, whisk eggs with cream together in a medium-sized bowl. Add pepper, salt, chives and parsley and mix enthusiastically until the mixture has achieved consistency.

Chop the tomatoes and arrange around the whole of the quiche. Leave the asparagus in long spears and arrange over the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the egg mixture has puffed and browned. Let rest until cool enough to touch and cut into wedges.

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