Breakfast: Asparagus Quiche
My perfect breakfast is steamed or boiled asparagus with a nice yolky egg dressed with nothing but crunchy sea salt, spicy pepper and a tiny punch of zesty lemon. In case you need something more decadent, try a quiche! This is a basic, traditional recipe that you can add other vegetables to or interchange cheeses as your palate desires.
- 2 TB butter
- 1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, thinly sliced on the diagonal into 1-1 ½ inch pieces
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 5 large eggs
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 3/4 cup shredded Gruyere, Taleggio, feta, Gorgonzola, herby chevre or other flavorful cheese
- ½ cup cooked prosciutto or ham, optional
- Ground nutmeg
- Pre-baked 9 inch pie crust *
Method: Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek and asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, cream, a bit of salt and pepper and about 1/8 ts nutmeg.
- Place pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. First layer the cheese, then the cooled asparagus and meat, if using. Pour egg mixture on top. Generously season top with salt and pepper.
- Bake until center of quiche is just set, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Don’t be intimidated by the pie crust! Pre-bake, weighting with beans or rice, until the crust is nicely golden. Don’t be shy about letting the crust bake: if you under-bake, the quiche will be soggy. If you don’t want to make your own pastry, Trader Joe’s offers a box with two crusts for about $2.99 that comes with rave reviews.
Lunch: Flatbread Asparagus Pizza
- Brush one side of a fresh or frozen flatbread with infused oil*.
- Set cooked asparagus spears* or pieces in a design, and spoon small mounds of fresh ricotta cheese around the flatbread. Garnish with bits of prosciutto and a little coarsely grated Parmigiano, optional.
- Bake the flatbread according to package instructions.
*best broiled, grilled or steam/boiled.
* Tastings Gourmet Market has awesome round flatbreads. They aren’t cheap, but like I said…they are awesome. Other brands can sometimes be found at Whole Foods Market and Safeway in the freezer section.
- 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1-2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1-2 fresh sage leaves
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
In a small saucepan, bring sliced garlic clove, herbs and oil to a simmer over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain before using. This also makes a nice dip for hearty bread! Alternatively, mince the herbs and don’t strain.
Spicy Orange Oil
- Carefully zested strips of one small orange and one lemon
- ¾ cup good extra virgin olive oil
- ½ ts red chili pepper flakes.
In a small saucepan, bring zest, flakes and olive oil to a simmer over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain to use.
Appetizer: Asparagus Wrapped with Prosciutto This is so simple and yet also elegant and irresistible with salty, sweet, earthy flavors all at once!
1. Put the rack onto the top spot in the oven and set the oven to broil.
- 2. Trim each stalk then tightly wrap each with a strip of prosciutto (the strip should be about 1-2 inches wide and 4 or so inches long, but needn’t be precisely measured). Place in a single layer, at least one inch apart, across a heavy rimmed baking sheet. You can cook the asparagus in two batches if necessary. Season with pepper—you shouldn’t need salt because the prosciutto is innately salty—and a sprinkle or two of olive oil.
- Broil, turning once to avoid overbrowning and to evenly cook both sides, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer to serving platter. If you wanted to be very decadent, you could garnish with a light drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar or tangy/sweet pomegranate molasses glaze.
Dinner: Stir Fried Asparagus with Soy Sauce, Maple Syrup and Scallions
From The Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. The Best Vegetable Recipes: A Best Recipe Classic. Brookline, MA: America’s Test Kitchen, 2007.
- 1 ½ TB soy sauce
- 1 ½ TB maple syrup
- 1 TB dry sherry
- 2 ½ TB peanut oil
- 1 ½ lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces on the bias
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin on the bias
Mix together the soy sauce, syrup and sherry in a small bowl Heat 2 TB oil in a large skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add the asparagus and stir fry, stirring frequently until tender, about 5 minutes. Clear a space in the center of the pan, add garlic, drizzle with remaining oil. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then mix together with the asparagus. Add the soy sauce mixture to coat the asparagus. Cook until syrupy, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle with scallions and serve immediately.
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