Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Cheesy Asparagus Quiche with Spaghetti Squash Crust

I had a few great ingredients in search of a recipe.

I had my "aha" moment when I spotted this recipe on Pinterest.

I played with the ingredients to use up the cheeses that I had on hand, as well as jumbo eggs instead of large ones. Also, my dish was deeper so I made more custard. This recipe involves lots of chopping and pre-roasting the squash, but it's worth it!


Step 1: Roast your spaghetti squash. I did this last night and I didn't photograph this part! Sorry :( I had to chase after an active toddler and just wanted to get this part done!

All you do is use a heavy chef's knife to split it lengthwise, turning the squash as necessary to get that even cut on both ends. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Sprinkle the cut sides with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and rub it all in. Place the squash halves, cut-side down, on a large baking dish. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes or until a knife pierces it easily. (Mine was huge and took this long to get tender. A small one may be done in 20 minutes.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Use a fork to remove the flesh into tender strings. I stored mine in a quart-sized container with a lid and stashed it in the fridge until quiche-making time today.

Step 2: Assemble the ingredients.

I also added Monterey Jack cheese, nutmeg and Parmesan (not pictured).

Step 3. Chop asparagus, onion and garlic.

I snapped off the tough end of one asparagus stalk and used it as a guide for cutting the rest, like so:

Discard the tough ends, chop the tender pieces into 1" lengths and pile them into a bowl.

Mince the garlic and finely chop the onion.  Heat up 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet or wok.

Cook the onion  and garlic over medium heat until light brown and remove to a plate.

Heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil and add your asparagus. Saute until it turns a lovely shade of emerald green.

Remove the cooked asparagus to a plate and allow to cool:

Step 4:  Mash 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash into a greased 9" deep pie dish, completely covering bottom and sides.

Step 5:  Assemble cheese and make custard.

The original recipe only called for 1 cup of shredded Swiss.  I only had sliced Swiss so I chopped it up.  I wanted more, so I added 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan.

I took a photo of 6 eggs in the bowl because I underestimated how big those suckers were!  When I started making the custard, I decided to use 5 instead.  The original recipe called for salt and black pepper, but I love the French way of using white pepper instead of the black.  It's subtle and pleasantly musky and adds a lot of flavor to this dish.  I also added a dash of nutmeg because it's great in any custard, sweet or savory.

Time to assemble the masterpiece!

Asparagus first, then scatter onion and garlic over the top.

Pile on the cheeses.  

Pour the custard over the top, using your whisk or a fork to create nooks for the custard to seep through the layers.

Place the quiche on a baking sheet.  Bake in the middle of a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Cover with foil; reduce heat to 350.  Cook for another 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

I should be golden, puffy and full of melty cheese.  The bottom doesn't get crispy (it is made of squash, after all!)  It was yummy anyway.

Cheesy Asparagus Quiche with Spaghetti Squash Crust
Inspired by Tasty Kitchen

1 large spaghetti squash, roasted (see above)
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
13 ounces fresh asparagus
1 cup shredded or finely chopped Swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
5 jumbo eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus a pinch for seasoning asparagus
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg

Roast squash according to directions; cool completely or make the night before and refrigerate.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in nonstick skillet; add onion and garlic.  Saute over medium heat until lightly browned.  Remove to a plate.  

Snap tough ends of asparagus; chop tender parts into 1" pieces.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet.  Add asparagus and a big pinch of salt.  Saute until the asparagus is barely tender and turns emerald green.  Remove to a plate.

Assemble cheeses; set aside.

Make custard:   Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, white pepper and nutmeg.  Set aside.  
Grease a deep 9" pie dish; measure out 3 cups squash and press into bottom and sides of dish.  Layer in the asparagus, onions and garlic, all the cheese, and the custard.  Use your whisk or a fork to create nooks for the custard to seep into.

Place quiche on a baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Cover with foil; reduce heat to 350.  Bake for 25 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on the counter for a few minutes, slice and savor!

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