When I first started making vegetarian meals, Allen was always supportive. He would, however, saunter back into the kitchen and look for a carnivorous “snack”. Leftover spaghetti with meatballs, cold pork chop, roasted chicken, strips of bacon were all at risk of immediate annihilation as soon as he opened the fridge.
But, after a few years, he was actually contented and satisfied with meatless meals. Allen still loved a red sauced pasta, but grew to like this Vegetarian Bolognese and didn’t miss the meat. He also loved pesto pizza like these Naan Pizzas, and even meatless soups like this Cheddar White Bean Soup.
This hearty quiche was a favorite meatless meal. The mushrooms, asparagus, and tangy goat cheese lift it up from a silky-smooth quiche to a chewy, hearty, fulfilling dish that quenched Allen’s carnivorous cravings.
Most times, I use refrigerated pie crust dough (the kind that you unroll from a package). At other times, I make a crustless version, just because I don’t feel like making crust from scratch or going to store to fetch one.
Some recipes suggest par-baking the pie crust, but I haven’t found it necessary. I simply press the dough in the pan and chill it until the filling is ready.
Prep the asparagus: bend one piece to see where it naturally breaks off at the tough part. Line up the rest and cut the spears to the same length. Cut and reserve about 8-9 perfect tips; chop the rest into bite sized pieces. I freeze extra pieces until I have enough to make soup.
Sauté the mushrooms in a bit of butter or oil. Let them sit, without stirring, for a few minutes, or until they start to brown. Stirring mushrooms right away releases their moisture, and they steam instead of browning. Just be patient, and after a few minutes, stir the mushrooms and let them finish cooking.
My friend Tony told Allen and I this story long ago: when Tony asked his mom why her scrambled eggs were so good, and his father’s scrambled eggs were so bad, she said, “Your Dad worries his eggs by stirring and stirring, instead of leaving them alone to cook.” Ever since then, “Don’t worry the food” has been a definitive cooking phrase in our kitchen.
I had pencil thin asparagus, so I didn’t bother precooking it. If you have regular, thicker asparagus, add it to the mushrooms in the pan after stirring the mushrooms, and sauté them all together for a few minutes. Scrape the mixture into the pastry lined pan.
I have found that the best way to crumble the moist goat cheese. is to use two forks to separate and pull it apart. Whisk the half and half, eggs, cheese, seasonings, and cheese together. Allen loved lots of goat cheese, but you can also use a combination of goat cheese and other cheeses, if desired. Pour it over the vegetables. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top, arrange the perfect asparagus tops in a spiral in the middle.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until set and golden brown on top. A thin knife inserted near the middle should come out clean. Let the quiche set for an additional 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
ASPARAGUS MUSHROOM QUICHE
- 1 pie crust (from 15 oz. pkg. of refrigerated pie crusts for 9-inch pies), room temperature
- 1-2 Tablespoons butter or canola oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 – 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces (reserve 8-9 tips)
- 1 cup half and half
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon tarragon
- 1 teaspoon chives
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (or 2 ounces goat cheese and 2 ounces shredded Gruyère or Swiss)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll the pie crust and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Sauté the mushrooms over medium high heat in the butter for about 3 minutes. Add asparagus pieces and continue to stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Whisk the eggs; stir in the half and half, seasonings, and cheese. Pour the mixture over the vegetables in the crust. Sprinkle the Parmesan overtop and arrange the reserved the asparagus tips in the middle.
Bake the quiche until a thin knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and the quiche is browned on top. Let it cool at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.