Asparagus and Fennel Quiche

Imagine having eggs from your own backyard chickens. How awesome would that be?

Imagine having eggs from your own backyard chickens. How awesome would that be?

I started my first food blog on June 13, 2007. The pictures were horrible. The writing was haphazard. There was absolutely no rhyme or reason behind what I’d talk about. Yet despite the atrocity which is my first blog, it’s still there, a reminder of meals past and of my evolution as a home cook.

It was in the cold early days of 2008 that I threw a bunch of green stuff into pie dough, poured beaten eggs on top and called it a quiche. Nine years later, I remember losing my quiche virginity. To me, at that time, this was mind-blowing stuff. Here then is a retooled version of it, complete with an actual recipe and pictures I don’t have to be embarrassed about.

Asparagus and fennel quiche.

Asparagus and fennel quiche.

As with any recipe, the mix of flavours helps to accomplish a great final product; here I propose rich eggs, earthy asparagus, sweet fennel and bitter radicchio. But if you’re really committed, your focus will be on top quality ingredients. The die hard amongst us will even consider raising their own backyard chickens (see The Backyard Chicken Artist) and growing their own gardens full of delicious greens (to make things easier, see Why your garden needs an irrigation system).

One final note: I hate baking. That being said, this quiche crust is more like Play-Doh than, say, a cake or some super delicate pastry dough. What I mean is that it’s really forgiving. It comes together easily, rolls as thin as you like, doesn’t fall apart, doesn’t stick to the counter and, most importantly, can be mercilessly torn and patched. Keep this one in your back pocket. It will serve you well.

Ingredients for crust

2 cup  flour
1 tsp salt
½ cup olive oil
½ cup cold water

Ingredients for filling

Half a fennel bulb, about 2 cups finely sliced
¼ cup radicchio, thinly sliced
¼ loose cup fennel greens, roughly chopped
One bunch asparagus (11.5 oz or 325 g) cut to stick out of muffin cups
¼ cup torn mozzarella
12 eggs
4 tbsp milk
Salt and pepper

Makes 12 large muffin cup quiches or 2 pie plate quiches

Method

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients for crust. Knead until well combined. If using coarser salt, fret not. The little pops of salt are nice when biting into the dough.

If using large muffin cups, you’ll need to roll out a piece of dough about the size of a clementine. Roll it as thin as possible and then fit it into the cups. Don’t worry about tearing and patching the dough as you go. The important part is to have the dough be even on all sides of the cups.

In a medium bowl, mix together fennel, radicchio and fennel greens. Portion into the cups, trying to have a good mix of vegetables in each.

Stick the asparagus pieces upright in the cups.

Place a piece or two of mozzarella between the asparagus pieces.

In a large pouring measuring cup, whip together eggs and milk. Season heavily. You didn’t add salt and pepper to the vegetables so it’s all got to be in the eggs.

Pour the egg mixture into each cup, leaving a big of space for expansion.

Place the muffin cups in the oven for about 25 minutes. The eggs will have puffed up and everything should be beautifully browned. If you’re unsure if it’s ready, stick a knife in the middle. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go.

Slide a knife along the edge of each cup and pop out the quiches. You can serve them hot, at room temperature or even cold the next day.