Sunday, April 20, 2008
Like a lot of people, SJG reads the newspaper online every day. She called me at work one afternoon this week to tell me she'd seen a great online recipe for an onion and blue cheese quiche in the Washington Post and shouldn't we make it for dinner this weekend. We haven't had a quiche since my last trip to Paris, so I agreed to the plan.
The Post's recipe called for edible lavender as well, but since the lavender in my garden is still dormant, we decided to substitute asparagus instead. An odd mental leap indeed, but asparagus has started to show up in groceries in town, tempting us with its slim green spears. (The best asparagus comes from the asparagus man at the farmers market. I blogged about him a couple years ago--see the Early Harvest entry. The farmers market doesn't start until May 1, so we have to settle for out-of-state asparagus for the time being.)
I've been making quiches since I was a young cook, and all I needed from SJG to make this quiche was a list of the ingredients: asparagus, blue cheese, caramelized onions, and bacon. I did check Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf, 1983) to verify the baking temperature for quiches, and then we were set. Late in the afternoon yesterday, as a reward for the first spring raking, we headed to the kitchen to begin our baking. Served with a green salad, our quiche brought a taste of France to our midwestern dining table!
1 partially baked savory crust (use an 8- or 9-inch-diameter baking dish)
3 large sweet onions, sliced and caramelized
2 tablespoons olive oil for caramelizing the onions
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces and steamed for 8 minutes (from a cold-water start)
6 thick slices bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces and fried until done
1 generous piece of creamy Italian gorgonzola (about 1/2 pound), cut into small pieces
1 cup half-and-half (or 1/2 cup half-and half + 1/2 cup milk)
salt and pepper to taste
1) Start caramelizing the onions in olive oil. Salt to taste. This takes about 30 minutes over a low heat on top of the stove. Prepare the crust, the asparagus, and the bacon while the onions are cooking.
2) Make the crust and set aside. You can leave the oven on after the crust is partially cooked, though lower the heat to 375 degrees for baking the quiche.
3) Steam the asparagus. When it's done, take it off the source of heat (including the boiling steamer water) right away to avoid soggy asparagus.
4) Fry the bacon and set onto a paper towel to drain off the grease.
5) Cut the gorgonzola into small pieces.
6) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and the cream with a fork. Add about 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pieces of cheese to the mixture.
To assemble the quiche:
a) Spread the caramelized onions over the bottom of the partially baked quiche crust. Then add the steamed asparagus and a layer of fried bacon on top of that.
b) Pour the egg-cheese mixture over the quiche. Grate a little pepper over the top.
c) Place the quiche in the oven and cook at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the quiche is set, a bit browned on top, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.