Sunday, November 14, 2010

Asparagus and Surimi Quiche

Quiche is so easy to like!
     Breakfast, lunch or as a dinner appetizer, quiche is a versatile dish.  Quiche is easy to make too.  Quiche should be made to order, but it is okay as a reheated entree.
     I was the day chef in a Florida French cafe that had fashion shows a few times a week.  Our clientele was mostly retired elderly ladies.  They loved quiche, soup and salad.  I ran 3 different quiche specials and seven different soups every day.  The ladies loved the quiche!  To be truthful, some of the men did too.
     The head chef at the cafe was a big animal of a French Corsican and he was a brutal rugby player.  The chef would grab a whole quiche pie and just shove the quiche in his mouth with his bare hands like an animal!  He used to say it was acceptable for a man to eat quiche for breakfast.  I guess men lose any ladylike association, when eating quiche noisily with their bare hands!  The old saying of "Real men don't eat quiche" is just another rule that should be broken!
     I originally named this recipe Asparagus and Crab Quiche.  I hate the sound of imitation crab meat on a menu, so I changed the title to surimi.  Many chefs call imitation crab meat by the name crab.  That is actually considered to be misrepresentation of a product and it is a deceptive marketing practice.  I happen to be one of those people that like being honest, because guilty feelings just slow down life.  Surimi sounds better than imitation crab and it is a far better than lying about the ingredient being crab.
     Pre-made frozen sheets of pie dough are okay at best.  It seems like most national brands are over processed and the texture is too smooth.  Local cheaper brands of pie dough are actually better in quality.  Pre-made pie dough is convenient and it makes for an easy meal.
     Irish pastry dough is also call flaky pie crust dough.  It is made the same way that pate brisee is made, but larger pieces of cold butter are required.  French pate brisee is better for quiche or any pie where an extra flaky crust texture is not desirable.  

     Pate Brisee Recipe:
     Place about 1 cup of flour into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add 3/4 tablespoon of sugar.
     Rice the flour by adding a few drops of ice water at a time while stirring with a whisk.  (The flour should look like grains of rice.)
     Cut 1 1/2 ounces of unsalted butter into pea size pieces and drop them in a bowl of ice water.
     Cut a few pieces of the chilled hard butter at a time to the riced flour.  (Use a pastry dough cutter or the end of a wire whisk.)
     Work and press the dough lightly with your fingers and for a minimal period of time leaving exposed small pieces of butter.
     Chill the dough, till it becomes very firm.
     Roll the pate brisee into a thin sheet on a floured counter top.  (The sheet of pate brisee should show thin streaks of butter!  This is what will give the pate brisee a flakey crusty texture.)
     Refrigerate the sheet of pate brisee, till it becomes firm again. 

     Pie Shell:
     I used a 5" wide and 2" deep pop-ring mold for the pie in the photographs.  Use a petite individual size pie mold of your choice.
     Press the pate brisee into place in a small pie mold that is lightly brushed with melted unsalted butter.
     Trim off the excess dough.
     Fill the crust with dried beans and bake the crust, till it is firm but not browned in a 350 degree oven.
     Let the crust cool.
     Remove the dried beans.
     Asparagus and Surimi Quiche:
     Sprinkle a very thin layer of grated swiss cheese on the bottom of the pie crust shell.
     Alternate thin layers of these ingredients in the pie shell, till it becomes full:
     - shredded crab flavored surimi
     - sliced blanched asparagus stlalks and spears
     - grated swiss cheese in the pie crust, till it is full to the top.
     Place 2 eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add an equal amount of milk.
     Add 1 pinch of ground nutmeg.
     Whisk the batter, till it becomes blended.
     Pour the quiche batter over the quiche ingredients in the pie crust, inside the pop ring mold.
     Fill the quiche with enough batter to cover the ingredients.
     Place a few decorative asparagus tips on top of the quiche as a garnish.
     Bake the quiche in a 350 degree oven.
     When the quiche has risen (souffle) and the top is lightly browned, then the quiche is done baking.
     A tooth pick inserted in the quiche that pulls out clean is a sign that a quiche is done baking.
     Gently remove the pop ring mold and set the quiche on a plate.
     Sprinkle a little bit of paprika on the plate as a garnish.
     The aroma of baked crab flavored surimi and asparagus quiche is very appealing!  This is a great chilly weather quiche.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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