Fresh Asparagus and Walla Walla Sweet Onion Quiche
Serves 6 to 8
While staying at The Inn at Blackberry Creek in Walla Walla, Washington, we enjoyed the expert hospitality and relaxed ambience at the restored Victorian farmhouse (circa 1906). Three idyllic days at the Inn left me hungry for more of innkeeper Barbara Knudson’s sumptuous breakfast dishes, which she prepares to order for her guests every morning. Barbara’s quiche, which she pairs with fresh melon and French pastries, focuses on a few of the best-known and beloved spring vegetables common in the Walla Walla Valley-fresh asparagus and sweet onions. It reheats well, and also makes a great light lunch when served with sliced melon and tomatoes, along with a glass of Cougar Crest Winery Viognier, one of the Valley’s 70-odd wineries.
1 large red potato
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated Jarlsberg cheese
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
8 to 10 asparagus stalks, woody stems broken off and discarded, remaining portion cut into 1-inch pieces, enough to measure 1 cup
1/3 cup coarsely chopped Walla Walla sweet onion or other variety of sweet onion, such as Maui or Vidalia
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or a 9-inch springform pan. If using the latter, wrap the outside with aluminum foil to catch any drips.
2. Peel the potato and cut it into paper-thin slices by hand or with a mandoline. Arrange the slices in a swirling pattern on the bottom of the pie pan, overlapping the slices.
3. Brush the potatoes with the melted butter, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, transfer to the oven, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and just tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle evenly with the Jarlsberg cheese.
4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet, add the asparagus and onion, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender and lightly browned and the asparagus turns bright green, 5 to 7 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper and stir well. Arrange the asparagus-onion mixture evenly on top of the cheese and potatoes.
5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, the 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, the 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and the Tabasco. Pour over the asparagus mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Place on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the sides of the quiche are golden brown and puff slightly.
6. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and serve.