Did you hear about the bumper crop of mushrooms they’re having out in California and the Pacific Northwest? Apparently all that rain has led to “Goldilocks” conditions ( just right)- and they are literally inundated with gorgeous fungi! I only wish I were there to forage, but I’m not… so I foraged a “wild mushroom blend” at my local market. They’re not morels or hen of the woods, but this mix was perfect in this Wild Mushroom Asparagus Quiche.
If ever there was a dish that screamed Springtime, this is it! Tender asparagus and mild oniony leeks are meant to be paired with meaty mushrooms. I think it’s like a food-destiny!
Tucking them into a flaky pastry doesn’t hurt either. Ok, so I cheated and used the store-bought pie crust. Don’t judge. My grandmother used to make her own — but when Pillsbury started selling it in the refrigerated section, she tried it and said, “Well, if they can make a crust as good as mine, why should I bother?” In my mind, this is now settled case law.
Press the crust into the bottom and sides of the pie dish — so it doesn’t bubble or slide down when baking and prick it with a fork all over. Set a piece of parchment paper in the crust and fill it with pie weights or a 1 pound package of dry beans (removed from the plastic packing – duh). Blind bake for 8-10 minutes so the crust will set.
To clean the leeks, trim the root and dark green parts and discard them to the compost pile. Slice the leeks lengthwise and then crosswise into half moons. Transfer the leeks to a bowl of cool water and swish with your fingers to dislodge any dirt. Lift the leeks from the water into a salad spinner and spin dry… You’ll see all the dirt and sand left behind in the water — it sinks to the bottom.
I left the pretty tips of the asparagus whole, but sliced the stems into bite sized rounds. Blanche the asparagus in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, then transfer it to an ice bath to shock it and stop the cooking.
Saute the mushrooms, and then the leeks and set aside.
Whisk the eggs with the half and half, milk and spice until well blended and frothy.
Stir the veg and cheese into the egg mixture. Pour into your par-baked crust and arrange the asparagus spears on top. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
Place the pie pan on a baking sheet (just in case anything overflows). Also, to prevent the crust from browning too much (or burning, GASP) I loosely lay a piece of tin foil over the quiche for about half of the baking time.
The result is a gorgeous golden crust and fragrant, puffed filling. (The puff doesn’t last – but it sure is impressive when you take it out of the oven.) Let the quiche rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
If you’re making this ahead of time, let it cool, then cover and refrigerate. The quiche can be served at room temperature or rewarmed for 20-25 minutes in a 300° oven.
This savory quiche is loaded with spring vegetables and a healthy dose of gruyere cheese. A great make-ahead breakfast or brunch dish.
- 1 9-inch pastry shell
- 8-9 asparagus spears
- 4 teaspoons butter
- 8 ounces mushrooms such as oyster, shiitake and baby bella
- 2 leeks
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 1/2 cups gruyere cheese grated
Preheat the oven to 450°. Roll out the pastry shell to about 11" in diameter. Gently place the pastry into a 9" pie pan and press it into the pan pushing on the sides so they don't slip while baking. Fold any overhanging pastry under and press the edges into a decorative pattern with your thumb and forefinger or by using the tines on a fork. Prick the bottom of the shell several times with the fork. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pastry and fill with pie weights or one pound dried beans. Bake for 8-9 minutes until pastry is set. Remove from oven and set aside.
Turn the oven down to 350°.
Fill a medium bowl with cool water and ice. Set aside.
Bring a shallow pot of water to a boil. Trim the asparagus spears, getting rid of the tough bottom of the stem and reserving the top portion in 2-3 inch pieces. With the middle portion of the stem, slice them into 1/4" rounds. When the water comes to a boil, transfer the asparagus to the boiling water for two minutes to blanche it.
Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer the asparagus to the ice bath to stop the cooking and shock it. Set aside.
Add two teaspoons of butter to a pan with a sprinkle of kosher salt and saute the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes over medium high heat or until tender and lightly brown. Transfer mushrooms to a small bowl.
Add the remaining two teaspoons butter to the same skillet and saute the leeks over medium heat until they soften and become translucent, about 5 minutes. If you have a lid for the pan, place the lid on for a minute or so to assist in softening the vegetable (this has a steaming affect). When the leeks are softened, remove the pan from the heat and add the mushrooms back to the skillet.
Drain the asparagus and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the tips. Add the asparagus rounds and gruyere cheese to the mushroom mixture. Stir to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the half and half, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. Add the vegetable mixture to the eggs and stir until well combined. Pour the filling into the pie shell.
Place the dish on a baking sheet and set in the hot oven. Place a piece of tin foil over the top of the quiche and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the quiche is set. Remove from oven and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.
Quiche can be made a day ahead of time, covered and stored in the refrigerator and reheated in a 300° oven for 20-25 minutes.