Early last week, I bought a packet each of green asparagus and white asparagus from NTUC Finest. I also have a few slices of smoked salmon in the fridge which I need to clear. Smoked salmon and asparagus would make a wonderful combination! And since I have not baked a quiche for quite some time, a smoked salmon and asparagus quiche seem a nice choice for our weekend lunch.
Honestly, this is one of best quiches that I had made so far. The fillings are favourful and not heavy (I omit the cheese and cream totally!). The best part is the crust stays crumbly till the next day. I lightly toasted a leftover slice the next day and it tastes just as good! I'm so happy!
To increase the intake of greens, I prepared grilled asparagus with onion vinaigrette as a side.
To prepare the asparagus, you need to snap off the lower ends, i.e. the tough and fibrous part. Depending on the thickness of your asparagus, you may need to peel away the outer skin from the middle of each stalk to the lower end. For my green asparagus, I just need to snap off the lower tough ends. For the thick white asparagus, discard the tough ends and use a vegetable peeler to peel away the outer skin.
Lightly blanch the asparagus in boiling water with a pinch of salt and 1/2 tbsp cooking oil before baking and grilling. Blanching the asparagus gives extra moisture which will prevent them from burning during baking/grilling. It also ensures even cooking (for the white asparagus) and gives a nice shiny green coat to the green asparagus.
For the quiche:
(makes one 24cm quiche)
200g plain flour
1 egg yolk + 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
A little egg white, beaten (for brushing)
12 medium-sized asparagus spears (trim to fit the quiche pan), blanched
6 slices of smoked salmon
1 cup chopped asparagus, blanched
1 cup shaved ham (optional - you can replace it with more asparagus)
1/2 cup chopped spring onion
2 eggs, beaten
1.5 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Rub flour, dried herbs and butter together till it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the cooking oil, egg yolk and water. Combine the ingredients to form into a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more water. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2) Roll out the pastry between a sheet of baking paper and cling wrap. The pastry sheet should be slightly bigger than your quiche pan. Using your rolling pin, gently transfer the pastry sheet to cover the quiche pan. Trim excess pastry sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
3) Prick the pastry base with a fork and blind bake in preheated oven of 190C for 15 minutes (To blind bake: Cover the pastry shell with a piece of baking paper and fill it with baking beads or uncooked rice/beans. This is to prevent the pastry shell from puffing up while baking). Remove the baking paper and baking beans. Brush the pastry shell with a little egg white and bake for a further 10 minutes.
4) While the pastry shell is baking in the oven, prepare the ingredients for the filling. Fill the partially-baked pastry shell with shaved ham and chopped asparagus. Mix well together: eggs, milk, spring onion, salt and pepper. Pour the custard into the pastry shell. Arrange the asparagus spears and smoked salmon on top.
5) Reduce oven heat to 180C and bake for about 40 minutes, or till the filling has set and the top is golden.
For the grilled asparagus with onion vinaigrette
Onion vinaigrette: Mix together
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Zest and juice from 1/3 lemon
2 tsp brown sugar
1 to 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1) Prepare the asparagus by removing lower tough ends and peeling away the outer skin (for the white asparagus). Blanch the asparagus in boiling water with a pinch of salt and a little cooking oil. Drain the asparagus and toss them with a little oil.
2) Heat a grilling pan till very hot. Place the asparagus on the hot grilling pan and grill them for about 2 minutes, turning the asparagus every now and then.
3) Transfer the grilled asparagus on serving plate and pour the vinaigrette over it.