Thursday, October 3, 2013

Whitefish and Asparagus Quiche

Maybe I've never told you this, but quiche is, hands down, my favorite food.  I love it with meat or vegetables, for breakfast or dinner, hot or cold. 

My gut always told me that it would be impossible to make a "light" version of quiche that still tasted just as good, and as it turns out, my gut was right.  Not that this option was bad, but if you love quiche for its buttery richness, it might fall short.  What it loses in richness it makes up for in uniqueness of savory flavor.

The ingredients are inspired by one of my favorite quiches from one of those infamous yuppie-flooded brunch joints in Chicago, Jam.  Their quiche has trout, capers, and pickled red onions...along with an extremely buttery crust.  Lacking trout and red onions to quickly pickle, I opted for tilapia, onion, and asparagus.

The crust you'll get here cuts back significantly on the butter (and also includes a bonus butter trick!), so the texture is much thinner, denser, and crispier.  The egg base only calls for a touch of half and half and greek yogurt rather than tons of cream, which makes it....eggier as opposed to a custard.  Despite the modifications on behalf of your health, the end result is still definitely quiche.
Ingredients for Filling (makes a 8" pie-pan quiche):
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. half and half 
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed off and stalks cut in half
  • 1-2 tilapia/trout/whitefish filets (depending on how fishy you want it)
  • 1/4 onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice (you'll notice I used preserved lemon, but I wish I had just used lemon juice)
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Simple Pie Crust:
  • 3 tbsp. butter, grated (yes, grated!)
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8" pie pan.  Also, put a pot of water on the stove top to boil in order to cook the asparagus.

Marinate the fish filets with the onion, lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and seasoned with salt and pepper.
While the fish marinates for about 15 minutes, make your crust.  A new trick I learned to quickly incorporate butter and flour is to finely grate the cheese with a standard cheese grater.  "Pinch" the butter into the flour until it has a fine meal.  Add the water and knead, adding any additional flour until the dough is not sticky.
Heat a pan on the stove top over high heat.  Sear the fish and onions for about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove, set aside to cool, and break apart gently with a fork.  
Cook the asparagus until tender in boiling water, drain and set aside to cool.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.  Press gently into the pie pan.
Whisk the eggs, greek yogurt, and half and half.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place a layer of asparagus and the fish at the bottom of the crust before pouring in the egg (making sure to set a small amount of egg aside for  wash).  Arrange a second layer of asparagus on top.  Trim off the excess crust and coat the edges in the remaining egg wash.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the egg is completely set and golden brown on top.


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