Thursday, June 3, 2010

Charlene's Kitchen in Philadelphia: Asparagus, Ham, and Parsley Quiche

I picked up my first CSA share of the season this past Saturday at Greensgrow Farms! Included in my share (which I pick up every other week) were a huge tub of ripe strawberries, dark green kale, a bunch of scallions, a sizable head of Boston lettuce, radishes, two small containers of the most delicious yogurt I've ever eaten (thank you, Pequea Valley Farm), 4 oz. of a sharp chive chèvre spread made by Shellbark Hollow Farm, four lovely green zucchinis, and, the topic of this post, asparagus! This is my third summer participating in the Greensgrow CSA and I love it. The produce and dairy products come from small, often family-run farms in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, as well as Greensgrow's own urban farm that happens to be in my neighborhood. I feel good supporting local farmers and eating according to the seasons. The food is fresher and honestly tastes better than supermarket offerings. And coming home with a tote bag containing produce that I may not have chosen on my own (radishes? leave your preparation ideas in the comments, please...) presents a good menu-planning challenge.

To eat up my bountiful share this week I've already made zucchini fritters, kale with bacon and garlic, and a summer salad with Boston lettuce, strawberries, goat cheese, and mint from my back yard. Next I tried an asparagus, ham, and parsley quiche. My default method of preparing asparagus is to coat it in olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw it on the grill. I wanted to try something different this time, so I found a tasty-sounding recipe from Metropolitan Bakery, yet another amazing Philadelphia establishment that I love supporting.

The recipe was easy to put together, although, as usual, I had trouble with my pie crust. The flavors go very nicely together. I was worried that the ham and Gruyère cheese would be too salty, but the quiche actually had a bit of sweetness, probably from the heavy cream. The result was quite rich and buttery, so next time I might try a lower-fat crust, such as the one Eric posted in his quiche recipe.

Next time you come home with a bag of CSA produce you need to eat relatively quickly, try making a quiche!

Recipe, from The Metropolitan Bakery Cookbook by James Barrett and Wendy Smith Born (Rodale, 2003, p. 130):

pie pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tb. cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/8 cup plus 1/4 Tb. vegetable shortening, frozen
5 Tbs. ice water

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

12 asparagus spears, ends trimmed
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced smoked ham
1/2 cup coarsley chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese

1) Prepare pie pastry by combining flour, sugar, and salt in a mixer bowl. Using mixer, add butter until it resembles a coarse meal. Cut frozen shortening into small cubes and add until evenly distributed. Gradually add ice water, 1 Tb. at a time, just until pastry begins to come together, looks crumbly but feels moist.

2) Gather pastry gently into a ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and flatten into a thick disk. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

3) Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 8 1/2 x 2 inch tart pan or pie plate with pastry. Cover with parchment paper and pie weights. Bake on center rack for 15-20 minutes or until the sides of the pastry are set.

4) Remove pie weights and parchment paper and return to oven for another 8-10 minutes or until bottom of the pastry is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.

5) Prepare custard by whisking together the cream, milk, egg yolks, eggs, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

6) Prepare filling by tossing the asparagus, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together on a baking pan. Roast for 8 minutes at 375ºF or until tender. Cool, then slice asparagus into half-inch pieces and combine with the ham in a bowl.

7) Spread the asparagus and ham mixture in the crust and sprinkle with the parsley and Gruyère.

8) Reduce oven temperature to 325ºF and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Place the tart pan or pie plate on the tray and gently pour the custard mixture over the filling.

9) Bake on center rack for about 45 minutes, until custard is set and the top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails Share