As the days lengthen and get warmer, lighter meals are on the horizon. Quiche is a versatile dish that can be served for any meal of the day, hot from the oven or at room temperature.
Fresh leeks are available most months of spring and are so adaptable, they can be combined with many other spring vegetables to bring a subtle, sweet onion flavor to the dish.
Broccoli and broccoli raab are both available in the markets now as a dependable cool weather vegetable. Once the weather warms and the sun becomes strong, broccoli can yellow and become bitter.
According to Wikipedia, broccoli gets its name from the Italian plural of broccolo, meaning “flower of the cabbage.” As it is the flowering head of the plant, little yellow flowers break out of the green buds, the stems toughen, and broccoli becomes less appetizing.
A member of the cabbage and kale family, broccoli is loaded with vitamins C and K and is a good source of fiber in the diet.
The Pacific Northwest is rife with mushroom growers and gatherers, and shiitake mushrooms are being grown year round. Originating in Japan, shiitakes are widely distributed throughout the warm, moist climates of Southeast Asia. They occur on dead logs of chinquapin trees, from which they get their name, but can be cultivated on many varieties of rotting deciduous tree wood.
Rich in vitamin B and trace minerals, they have a distinctive nutty flavor and hold their texture, adding an almost meaty quality to any dish. Shiitakes are a favorite for drying, as they retain their flavor, can be easily reconstituted or made into a flavorful mushroom powder to add to soups and sauces.
Feta, originating in Greece, is made from cow’s milk or sheep’s milk. It is typically produced in the spring when milk is plentiful, and as it isn’t an aged cheese, it is stored in brine to keep it fresh.
As a fresh cheese, which melts only slightly when baked, it combines well with fresh vegetables and gives an almost exotic flavor to a quiche.
- 1 9-inch pie shell (store-bought or homemade)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium leeks
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 pounds shiitake mushrooms
- 1 broccoli crown
- 2 strips roasted red pepper (optional)
- 2 stems of fresh rosemary
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta (about 1/2#)
If you are using a purchased pie shell, remove it from the freezer and follow the directions on the label. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Thoroughly clean leeks and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Slice mushrooms into 1/4-inch slices. Cut broccoli into 3/4-inch chunks. Mince garlic.
If using red pepper, slice into 1/4-inch slices and then cut each into 2 pieces.
Heat olive oil to shimmer, add leeks and mushrooms. Stir well, add garlic and broccoli and cook about 2 minutes. Add red peppers if using.
Place softened vegetable mixture into prepared pie shell. Add crumbled feta cheese.
Whisk eggs and milk together until well combined, add salt and pepper. Pour eggs over vegetables and cheese.
Place in oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking, about 30 minutes.
Test with a table knife; if the blade comes out clean, continue to bake and check in 5 minute increments.
Wait at least 15 minutes to cut and serve. Quiche can be served at room temperature.