Monday, June 4, 2012
Smoked Salmon, Vegetable and Ricotta Quiche: Puff Pastry at Brunch
I’ve decided ... brunch is the best. To wake up late, enjoy a selection of sweet and savory, sip hot coffee, chat around the table and lazily ease into the afternoon is pure happiness. A sunny patio or warm breeze adds to the bliss, but is by no means necessary. Brunch is about good food and good conversation.
Someone who knows good food is Katherine Martinelli, a warm, friendly, talented food and travel writer. Katherine writes a beautiful blog, sharing her stories (many from Be'er Sheva, Israel, her current home), mouth-watering recipes and stunning photos. She recently published Puff Pastry at Brunch, a delightful collection of recipes using puff pastry. There are many virtues of puff pastry and Katherine captures them in her book and creates distinctive dishes for brunch. (As much as I love to eat phyllo dough, I find it difficult to work with at times and much prefer puff pastry. In fact, the next time I make spanakopita I am going to use puff pastry rather than phyllo.)
When I decided to host a brunch, I knew one of Katherine’s new recipes had to be on the menu. It was a difficult decision - I can’t wait to make all of them! - and I settled on the quiche. I was drawn to Katherine’s combination of arugula, asparagus, zucchini and ricotta. The original recipe also includes bacon, so I substituted an equal amount of smoked salmon.
This is a quite a quiche! After the first bite, one of our brunch guests declared it the best quiche she has eaten and immediately asked for the recipe – it’s that good. The ingredients combined beautifully with a peppery kick from arugula, creaminess of ricotta, the fresh textures of asparagus and zucchini and a little saltiness from salmon. Since I didn’t use bacon, I sautéed the zucchini in a drizzle of olive oil (rather than in bacon fat) and it worked quite well. The puff pastry crust was a dream and baked up rich, flaky and buttery. Suffice it to say, I will always keep a stash of pastry in my freezer now. Thanks for the inspiration, Katherine!
P.S. Our hens keep hopping up to eat the flowers on the roof of their coop...
but I snatched the cooling quiche away from the picnic table before Eleanor could sneak a nibble!
Smoked Salmon, Vegetable and Ricotta Quiche
From Puff Pastry at Brunch
By Katherine Martinelli (used with permission)
Serves 8 to 10
Butter or baking spray
1 pound puff pastry
2 small zucchini, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 stalks asparagus
6 ounces smoked salmon, flaked
1/2 cup chopped arugula
1/4 cup whole milk or cream
6 ounces fresh ricotta
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 11-inch tart pan with butter or baking spray.
Roll out the puff pastry to a large circle about 1/8 inch thick. Evenly center it in the greased tart pan, press down and trim edges. Prick all over with a fork and weigh down with pastry weights or another ovenproof pan. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, pour a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet and add the zucchini. Cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the asparagus. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly tender, but not soft. Drain and immediately run under cold water (this will stop it from cooking and help it keep its vibrant green color). Slice into bite-sized pieces.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Fold in the zucchini, asparagus, smoked salmon, arugula and 4 ounces of the ricotta.
Pour the mixture into the pre-baked crust. Crumble the remaining ricotta on top.
Bake until the eggs are fully set, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.