Leek and Asparagus Quiche

When I was little I remember quiche. It was gross. Lukewarm eggs, funky fillings in a tiny little pie crust. I avoided it like I still avoid tuna sandwiches (don’t get me started on the smell of canned tuna. Ick.)

Then something changed. Quiche became… amazing. Delicious. Light. Creative. Perfect for any meal of the day. I don’t know when or why I went from detesting quiche to loving it, but I’ve never turned back. I’ve even converted my quiche-hating husband into the guy who sneaks seconds of the stuff.

And then there is my love affair with leeks that started last fall when I made mini leek pies…not ever knowing what a leek was when I picked out the recipe and headed to the store. They were amazing; just a hint of onion with all it’s lovely sweetness. Since then I’ve started putting leeks in just about everything that seems like it would just be better with some leeks added. And– in case you don’t know what a leek is, as I didn’t as of one year ago — a leek is in the onion family. In fact, they look like giant green onions, only they have a very light taste. You can slice up the white stalk into thin rings to use pretty much anywhere that you use an onion.

I mentioned that a few weeks ago I checked out Joy the Baker’s cookbook from the library. I’ve only made a handful of recipes from the book so far, but this leek and asparagus quiche immediately caught my eye and went on our dinner menu. I loved that she used a puff pastry crust and added Gruyere cheese, which perfectly complements asparagus every time. This quiche is a lot richer than the ones I usually make — I usually don’t add heavy cream to my recipes — but for something special, this dish is divine. And easy. And good for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unless you are a quiche hater, in which case I challenge you to try it. Perhaps you’ll be converted.

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil
1 cup leeks, thinly sliced from the whites to the pale green flesh
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed but still slightly cold
1 1/4 C milk (whole preferred)
1 C heavy cream
6 large eggs
1 tsp salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 C grate Gruyere cheese
3/4 tsp coarsley ground black pepper

To Prepare:

• In your oven, make sure your rack is positioned in the upper third section and then preheat oven to 350F.

• Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat, then add your olive oil and leeks. Saute leeks until they are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add your asparagus and cool about 3 minutes more, until they are bright green in color. The veggies don’t have to be fully cooked at this point, as they will cook more in the oven. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

• Lightly flour a surface and unfold your puff pastry. Gently roll the puff pastry with a lightly floured rolling pin, extending the dough about 1/2 inch on each side. If it tears, just pinch it back together again. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Place your puff pastry dough in the bottom of a 9 or 10-inch pie pan, allowing the four corners of the dough to hang over the side. Place in the fridge to chill while you keep working.

• In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, salt and nutmeg. Stir in half of your cheese.

• Remove your pie pan from the fridge when you are ready to bake. Fill the pan with your leeks and asparagus, then pour in your egg mixture. Top with your remaining cheese and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake for 45-60 minutes, checking the quiche with a knife to see if it’s done (knife will come out clean when the eggs are fully cooked). The quiche will puff up in the oven when it’s done and then sink down again when it is cool. If you can wait, let the quiche rest for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Quiche will last for up to 3 days in the fridge if well wrapped.

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