• Asparagus and aged Gruyère quiche

    Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

    Looking for something new to take on a picnic? Look no further. This quiche has body and, just as important, an amazing combination of flavors that pair with most anything you add to your picnic basket.

    Gruyère is a hard yellow cheese named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland. It is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy and complex. This recipe takes advantage of aging. The flavor and texture of my whole wheat crust adds yet another dimension of flavor that will make you yodel with delight.

    Crust Ingredients:
    1½ cups whole wheat flour
    1½ cups white flour
    1 cup wheat germ
    1½ teaspoon sea salt
    1 cup plus 4 tablespoons butter
    10 – 12 tablespoons cold water

    Filling Ingredients:
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 leek (white and light green parts only – halved and thinly sliced)
    1 pound asparagus (tough ends removed stems sliced thin diagonally)
    4 large eggs
    1¼ half-and-half
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    Pinch of ground nutmeg
    1 cup aged Gruyère cheese (grated)

    Crust Directions:
    Stir together flour, wheat germ and salt. Cut butter into these dry ingredients (a pastry cutter makes this easy). When the dough is the consistency of rolled oats, sprinkle with enough of the water to hold the dough together. Form into a ball, cover and refrigerate for about an hour while you prepare the filling.

    Filling Directions:
    In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek and asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is tender – about 7 or 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside .

    Baking Instructions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

    Roll out dough and lay carefully in the baking pan creating a 1½-inch high crust up the sides of the pan. Sprinkle Gruyère on bottom of crust and top with asparagus/leek mixture. Pour egg mixture on top. Bake until center of quiche is set – about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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