Most people don’t think of local farms and seasonal produce when they hear “New Jersey” but that IS the reality. It isn’t called the Garden State for nothing. And even though most may envision a gray shipping port in the dark shadows of the shiny heavenly skyscrapers just across the Hudson River, most of New Jersey is country, full of beautiful rolling hills, rivers and lots and lots of farmland. Not only that, but NJ also plays really nice with upstate NY’s, PA’s and CT’s farmland. All this to say, this area is a locavore’s heaven.
So eating and cooking with local seasonal produce here is second-nature. Farmers markets are preparing for their big debut in a few weeks, peppering nearly every other town in NJ, and local farm stores are beginning to open their doors everyday with their first crops of the season.
I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t really say it enough: it is nearly impossible to avoid feeling that spring fever, especially after eyeing all the gorgeous neon green new produce, herbs and flowers at the market.
Speaking of herbs, I’ll be blogging soon about my current extracurricular project: a homemade DIY indoor herb garden solution for renters. I’ve been jonesing for an indoor herb garden since living in LA, and since realizing that the sub-30° winter temperatures do outdoor herbs no favors… more to come soon.
Back to the local produce.
After recently bringing home my new spring spoils from the grocery store – a huge bunch of young asparagus spears and two enormous fragrant leeks – I decided a quiche was in my near future.
I’ve always loved quiche as well as its close cousins, the savory tart and frittata. Eggs and a creamy, cheesy savory custard blanket perfectly showcase and wrap delicate ingredients like leeks and asparagus. This quiche is case in point.
The beauty of this quiche is that (aside from the homemade dough!) it’s extremely easy and pretty much fool-proof. You can keep it vegetarian by leaving the bacon lardons off, but that would make me a little sad. Because the bacon is just such a nice little smoky/salty addition to the nutty creamy flavors of the quiche. But of course, it’s up to you. Just beware: a fairy loses her wings every time you forego bacon.
Leek & Asparagus Quiche
- 1¼ c all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling dough)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 8 TB very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (frozen is best)
- 3-4 TB ice water
- 1 TB unsalted butter
- 1 lb asparagus, diced diagonally in 1 inch pieces (with tough pale ends cut off – save them in your freezer for vegetable stock!)
- 1 leek, thinly sliced and washed (white and lighter green parts only – keep ends of leeks in your freezer for vegetable stock!)
- 4 large eggs -½ c whole milk
- ¾ c heavy cream -½ tsp salt -½ tsp pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 c grated gruyere cheese
- 2 slices uncooked bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch squares (optional)
- Quiche Dough
- Leek & Asparagus Quiche Filling
- Quiche Dough
- Leek & Asparagus Filling