Spring Quiche with Baies Roses
Makes one 9-inch quiche.
We hope it’s true that everything old can be new again because a well-made quiche is a thing of beauty — even if it spent the 80s as a culinary cliché. Here, baies roses adds a spark of color and its light, lemony flavor to a quiche that celebrates that springiest of vegetables, asparagus.
As the season or your mood changes, you can substitute other lightly cooked vegetables and other cheeses. You can omit the salmon or use ham or cooked bacon instead. The recipe makes enough custard to fill a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate. If you have a different pie plate or a store-bought crust, you may have leftover custard, but it can be baked in a ramekin for a cook’s treat.
2 tablespoons butter, divided
½ cup minced shallots
2 teaspoons baies roses, lightly crushed
1 cup sliced asparagus (1/8-inch thick, diagonal slices)
2 cups half and half
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 ounces smoked salmon, rinsed, patted dry, and roughly chopped
1 cup grated Gruyère or Jarlsburg cheese
Sea salt and black or white pepper
1 pie shell (9-inch, homemade or store-bought, par-baked for 15 minutes)
Cook the vegetables Put 1 tablespoon of the butter into a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the butter melts and is bubbling, add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft and translucent, 4–5 minutes. Add the baies roses and stir to mix through the shallots, then transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
Return the skillet to the heat, add the remaining butter to it. When the butter melts and is bubbling, add the asparagus and a pinch of salt. Cook, tossing or stirring until the asparagus is bright green and becoming tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to the bowl of shallots. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Make the custard Put the eggs into a medium mixing bowl (one with a pour spout is especially nice!) and whisk them briefly. Add the cream, mustard, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine completely.
Note: The custard is salted only lightly because it’s used with salty cheese and smoked fish. If using a mild cheese, such as chèvre, and no salty fish or meat use more salt. We like to use Kampot white pepper in quiche because of its color and delicacy. But black pepper is fine, too.
Assemble and bake the quiche Set the pie plate/par-baked crust onto a rimmed baking sheet (makes moving the filled quiche to the oven much easier). Put the cooked vegetables into the pie crust and gently spread them out to cover the bottom. Arrange the salmon over the vegetables and top that with the grated cheese. Carefully pour the custard over the vegetables, fish, and cheese, filling the crust to within ½ inch of the rim.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the custard has set and the top of the quiche is tinged with gold, 30–35 minutes. Don’t over bake — the center of the custard should have a very slight ‘jiggle’ when you remove the quiche from the oven. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature of the custard should be 162°–165°F.)
Let the quiche cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Peppery Cream Cheese Pie Crust
Makes a single, 9-inch pie crust.
This is a simple to make and very forgiving sort of pie crust — the cream cheese makes the pastry easy to work with and adds a slightly tangy flavor.
This is totally optional but we like to add a between ¼ and ½ teaspoon of freshly ground Kampot white pepper to the flour when making this piecrust for quiche because it adds a subtle sparkle of flavor.
It’s best to chill this dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. But if you're in a hurry, you can roll this dough without chilling it first.
1 1/3 cups (5.7 ounces) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (omit if using salted butter)
½ teaspoon finely ground Pepper Mill Mix
1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) cold cream cheese, cut into blobs
1 stick (4 ounces) cold butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons ice water
1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground pepper into the bowl of a food processor that’s fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pulse a couple of times to mix and fluff the ingredients.
Add the cream cheese and pulse about ten times. Add the butter and pulse 12–15 times. (The mixture should look like coarse sand.)
Add the water and vinegar and pulse a few times. The dough will be crumbly but will hold together when squeezed in your palm.
Scoop the mixture onto a sheet of baking parchment. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball, then knead it a few times until it’s smooth. Pat the dough ball into a 2-inch-thick disc. Wrap it with the baking parchment and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes and up to overnight. (The dough can be frozen for a month.)
It would be cool if you had a cookbook so we’d know which recipes had which spices in them. And a restaurant would be great too!