mardi 8 avril 2008

Leek Quiche

Spring seems to be taking the scenic route to arrive in the SaarLorLux region this year. The weather has been very changeable – beautiful and sunny one minute then raining or snowing the next. The plants and trees seem to think it is spring and are trying their best to put on a show of colour.

What to serve at this time of year? How about quiche? One of my favourites is leek quiche. Leeks belong to the same family as onions and garlic. The flavour of leeks is gentler and sweeter than onion. Leeks are a key ingredient in the Scottish cock-a-leekie (leek, potato and chicken stock) soup and French vichyssoise (puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock). Vichyssoise is usually served cold but can also be served hot. Leeks can be sautéed and served as a side dish.
Leeks need to be cleaned before using to remove any dirt or sand that can gather between the leaves. Trim the root end and remove any wilted or coarse outer leaves. Chop off the dark green end, leaving just the tenderer light greensand white portions. (Dark green leaves could be used for vegetable stock.) Slice the leeks down the centre and rinse well under cold running water to remove any dirt and sand. Slice or chop as required for the recipe.

Leek Quiche
Serves 4 as main course or 6 as appetizer

60 mL (4 Tbsp) sweet butter
6 leeks, trimmed, well washed and thinly sliced
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
250 mL (1 cup) light cream
250 mL (1 cup) heavy cream or crème fraîche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg
1-23 cm (9”) pie shell (pate brisée); partially baked
125 mL (½ cup) grated Gruyere cheese

Melt butter in a skillet. Add sliced leeks and cook, covered, over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until leeks are tender and lightly coloured. Stir frequently or leeks may scorch. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Whisk eggs, yolks and creams together in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a sprinkling of nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F) with rack positioned on middle level.
Spoon cooled leeks into prepared pie shell. Add cream and egg mixture to fill to within 1 cm (½”) of the top. Sprinkle the Gruyere evenly over the quiche.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until top is well browned and filling is completely set. Cool for 10 min. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

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