Asparagus quiche is a savory, French-style egg custard baked either in a traditional pie shell or a buttery crumb crust. This kind quiche always features either chopped asparagus or asparagus tips, though there are many different varieties. Asparagus quiche Lorraine almost always includes bacon or prosciutto and spinach. Other varieties of asparagus quiche may contain little more than eggs, cheese, and the asparagus itself.
Most styles of quiche, including asparagus quiche, originated in France. Historically, both delicate egg custards and sautéed asparagus spears were popular in French cuisine, so chefs began combining the two. The result was a cheesy, often deeply flavorful dish that featured both the sweetness of tender, young asparagus tips and the bitterness of the more mature stem. This dish has not changed greatly over the years. The only big differences are that some cooks use frozen, pre-made pie crust instead of making it themselves.
Seasonal cooks often prepare asparagus quiche in mid to late spring. Asparagus sprouts and begins to mature around this time, just as hens begin laying eggs. Those interested in seasonal cooking may enjoy this custard as a fresh-tasting way to stay warm during cool spring evenings. It is also usually well-received at potlucks and dinner parties. Some cooks even make miniature versions, in muffin tins, as appetizers.
The basic recipe for asparagus quiche usually includes a raw pie crust — either store-bought or homemade — up to five eggs, cream or whole milk, cheese, and asparagus. The cook generally beats the eggs together with the cream or milk to make a thick, runny yellow mixture. The asparagus must typically be chopped into small pieces and gently sautéed in either cooking oil or butter until it is soft. Uncooked asparagus is usually fibrous, dense, bitter, and hard to chew. Cooking it before adding it to the quiche helps ensure each bite is mellow and pleasingly flavorful.
The asparagus then goes into the pie shell and gets covered with shredded cheese. Aged cheddar, Swiss, Gouda, and Gruyere are all generally good choices. Salty, highly flavorful cheeses usually compliment asparagus well. The egg and milk mixture gets poured over the cheese and asparagus and the quiche is generally baked until the crust is flaky and the eggs are set.
Cooks that want more than just one flavor in their asparagus quiche have a wide range of other ingredients to choose from. Tomatoes, green bell peppers, shallots, and mushrooms usually go well with asparagus, though they must also be sautéed to soften them. Precooking the veggies also releases juices that could create a watery quiche if they were added when raw. Popular meat options include bacon or prosciutto, ham, and browned sausage. All of these meats should be fully cooked and drained of grease before being added the quiche.