The last Monday of each month arrives faster and faster, proving that Einstein got it right with his Theory of Relativity of time and space.  How else could we explain that I joined the SRC just a little while ago, blinked my eyes twice, and here I am, on my seventh post?

I had a complete blast with this month’s assignment: The Culinary Enthusiast!  A catchy blog name, by the way. Kelley lives in Chicago with her husband and a dog-child called Maddy, who gets to enjoy the many treats she cooks. See similarities between our households?   😉  Kelley has very creative recipes, and it took me a few days of “stalking” before I settled on my choice.   Asparagus Quiche.   Perfect for the season, perfect to remember Paris, perfect for a romantic weekend dinner.

(adapted from The Culinary Enthusiast)

1 recipe for pie crust (I used this one)
1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 bunch (about 1/2 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, thinly sliced
3 asparagus stalks, trimmed and left whole (optional)
4 slices bacon, cut in large dice
4 large eggs
1 + 1/4 cups half-and-half
Ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (4 ounces)

Prepare the crust of your quiche, using the recipe of your choice.  Roll it out to cover your pie plate.  Prick the surface with a fork a few times, cover the bottom with aluminum foil, and place dried beans to keep the crust down during pre-baking.   Bake in a 400 F oven for 15 minutes, carefully remove the foil, place it back in the oven for 10 minutes more.   Remove from the oven, and reserve.

Bring the oven temperature down to 325 F, placing a rack in the lowest position.  In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy.  Set aside on a paper towel lined plate, allow it to cool, and crumble into smaller pieces.  Reserve bacon grease in pan and add the leeks, cook for a few minutes, until softened.  Add the asparagus pieces, season with salt and pepper. Cook until the asparagus is crisp/tender, maximum 6 minutes. Let the mixture cool down.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Place pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with half of the cheese; add the asparagus/leek mixture, top with crumbled bacon. Pour egg mixture on top, add the remainder of the cheese.

If you want to decorate the quiche with asparagus stalks, cook them slightly in a microwave for a minute, then place carefully on top.

Bake until center of quiche is just set, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.


to print the recipe, click here

My main modification of the recipe was to pre-bake the crust, because I’ve had problems with the crust getting too soggy when I omitted that step.  I also did not use potatoes in the filling, but I know it would be awesome with them too!

As far as quiche goes, Phil and I had the perfect example at a small, unassuming place in Paris, called “Bistrot du Papa”.  Don’t go through the trouble of googleing it, it no longer exists.  We were in considerable distress when we attempted to go back on our last visit, only to find an Italian restaurant in its place.  Ever since enjoying that masterpiece, I tried to make it at home a couple of times, the traditional quiche Lorraine, but my versions had very little to do with the bistrot’s.

I must say this asparagus quiche was by far the best I’ve made!  Will I ever hit “Bistrot du Papa” level?  Quite unlikely.  They have a different type of cream, a different type of bacon, and then there’s the Parisian aura, hard to duplicate at home.  Oh, well…   We should have stopped there once a week for the duration of that magical sabbatical year!

We’ll always have Paris…
(great scene from Casablanca, 1942)

Kelley, thanks for a great recipe that brought the best gastronomical memories to our table!

Check out the other recipes in this month’s roundup  by clicking on the cute blue frog at the end of this post.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Spring Pasta

TWO YEARS AGO: Ice Cream Melts for Mango

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