Thursday, 19 May 2011

Sambal Chilli Asparagus and Gruyere Crustless Quiche



Asparagus. The coveted spears of spring. I can't remember where I heard that phrase before but it's been stuck in my head ever since. I love asparagus, and to me, the flavour of fresh British asparagus really can't be beat. The best way to enjoy them is simply steamed, with a knob of butter melted over (try flavoured butters like chilli coriander and lime zest butter).


But asparagus is so terribly expensive though. I actually googled it before - "why is asparagus so expensive". Yes I am that geeky. (What will we do without google??) Anyway. Apart from that fantastic flavour, it's also because asparagus take 2 years to harvest and bring returns and of course, because they only appear for such a short period of time i.e. spring. I figured it would be a shame to let spring slip by without an asparagus dish, so I got some at Pimlico farmer's market and stretched them further in a quiche-- one of my favourite ways to throw in any vegetables and experiment with lots of flavour combinations (even yes, sambal chilli).

Basic Crustless Quiche
I love quiche. It was my staple buy every time we passed a bakery in Paris last summer with my sister. And I will share a proper quiche recipe sometime in the future, I used to be scared of shortcrust pastry but it really isn't that difficult after all! But when you just want an easy lazy Sunday brunch, you can't be bothered with all that mixing and rolling. Without a crust as a base, the ratios are adjusted such that the quiche is less decadently custardy, but it is not a frittata. It's confusing seeing people call their frittatas quiches, because frittatas don't have all that luscious cream (or milk) added; for quiche, think: more cream less eggs.
Ingredients
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cream (preferably grassfed)
1/2 cup whole milk (preferably grassfed)
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (or Emmental or even Cheddar)
a handful of grated Parmiggiano (optional)


Sambal Chilli Asparagus and Gruyere Crustless Quiche
Ingredients
7-8 stalks of asaparagus
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp sambal belachan (replace with chilli paste if not available)
1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cream (preferably grassfed)
1/2 cup whole milk (preferably grassfed)
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the woody bottom part of the stalk. Cut the remaining stalks into halves, leave the top half whole, but further chop up the bottom half into bite sized pieces.
3. Over medium high heat, add the oil to the hot pan, and then add the onions to sweat.
4. Once onions are translucent, add the sambal belachan and the top half of the asparagus, saute for a couple of min, before adding the bite-sized asparagus pieces, and cook for 3 min more till almost tender but not soft.


5. To a inch pie dish greased with some butter or oil, spread the onions and asparagus pieces over the base of the dish.
6. Beat the eggs with the cream and milk, season with the salt and chilli flakes, and pour over. Arrange the asparagus tips on top in a starburst pattern (mine shifted when I moved it into the oven ): )

7. Bake for 30-40 min until set with slightly browned edges but centre looks a little jiggly still, as it will continue to cook out of the oven. Leave to cool before cutting into it.



The chilli adds some kick to a classic quiche, and the belachan (fermented fish paste) in the sambal chilli adds a very special salty savoury depth to the asaparagus, the same way the british use bacon to add an extra something. This quiche is rich with flavour and requires hardly any effort, and I can have it for breakfast, for lunch, as a teatime treat maybe, and then for dinner and then supper after so it's a real time-saver. No I was kidding. Actually, no I wasn't.

This is part of Full Plate Thursday.

15 comments:

  1. Ha! I'm that geeky too. I google stuff like that all the time. :) Asparagus and eggs (in any form) go together so beautifully!

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  2. This recipe looks GREAT!!! Thanks for stopping by my blog...I am following you now :-)

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  3. hhmmm....this quiche looks tasty.

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  4. You have a really cool blog! Thanks for visiting and I am following you for more great ideas!

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  5. You're such a good girl to make your quiche crustless ... I'm such a naughty because I make mine with a crunchy fatty crust! ;0

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  6. Thanks!! (:

    @ Chris: hi-five (:
    @ Susan: I wish.. it was more because I was lazy. I had that with (very generously) buttered toast. plus I ate my way through the remaining cream in the pot while making it. yum yum.

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  7. HA! You fooled me :) I thought, "Wow, that crustless quiche looks delicious and it MUST be low-fat/cal with no crust" Until I got to the cream. But honestly, I would have put cream in it too. Life is too short for skim milk and low-fat cheese.

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  8. this is nice to serve during lunch, quick and yummy!

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  9. Just made a frittata similar to this recently, but with no chili paste. That sounds like a fantastic addition! I'm impressed...I was not cooking like this when I was 20. It's taken me years to feed myself well. Yay, you!

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  10. Hi Shu Hun,
    What a beautiful Quiche. I just love the flavors of this wonderful dish. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!

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  11. I know hoe delicious this might have taste cause I too made something similar .. crust-less quiche with asparagus. I couldn't stop eating and it was sooo yummy :)
    www.sunshineandsmile.com

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  12. the improbable farmer: no way, i'm not afraid of calories!

    sonia: it was a weekend brunch for me (:

    melissa: I'm just very partial towards sambal chilli ;)

    shuqi: yay

    miz hlen: thanks!

    sunshine and smile: great minds think alike hehe

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