Crustless Quiche with Ham, Asparagus, and Cheese

[Crustless Quiche hot from the oven. Photo by Jill Nienhiser for Farm Food Blog.]

Lately I’ve been making a quiche on the weekend and reheating a piece each morning in the toaster oven for breakfast and I am loving that. Faster than making scrambled eggs and bacon for myself on a work morning, with fewer dishes and pans to deal with after.

I’ve been making the quiche crustless (shall I call it a “criche”?), partly to avoid the work of making a crust, and partly because I’m limiting carbs a bit lately. And I don’t have any special quiche pan, so I’ve just been making it in a square casserole dish. It turns out great. Depending on my schedule I either bake it on the weekend or prep the parts and combine and bake it Monday morning.

Then the rest just stays in the casserole dish in the fridge and each morning I put a piece on the pan in my toaster oven, cover it with foil (which I think would help keep it from drying out, but I don’t know if it’s truly necessary). About 15 minutes at 300 degrees and it’s ready to eat. Really tastes just as good warmed up as it did fresh from the oven!

Here’s the recipe for the first criche I tried…other variations to follow as I come up with them!

This recipe for crustless quiche with ham, asparagus, and cheese is adapted from the Pinch My Salt blog. Her recipe is adapted from The All Purpose Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, preferably pastured (find sources of raw pastured butter)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or 1 leek, cut in half and rinsed well to remove grit between the layers, and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 bunch (about a half pound) asparagus, rinsed, stemmed,* and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cubed ham, preferably from pastured pigs
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Swiss, Emmentaler, or Gruyere are good), preferably pastured (where to buy cheese)
  • 4 large eggs, preferably pastured
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, preferably pastured (find sources of raw pastured cream)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (where to buy salt & spices)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*To “stem” asparagus, hold each spear on either end. Bend the root end until it snaps, and throw that part in the compost bin. Wherever it snaps off is just right–the tougher, woody stem part will break away, leaving the tender shoot that’s good to eat! Read more about asparagus here.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prep pan: Grease a 9″x9″x2″ square casserole dish well with butter (or you can use a quiche dish or 10″ pie plate).
  3. Prep the add-ins: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion or leeks, and saute for a few minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add chopped asparagus, and cook until just tender, turning occasionally (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat. Add cubed ham to the pan and toss to combine. Turn mixture into the greased dish and sprinkle the shredded cheese over that.
  4. Prep the quiche base: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream, salt, and pepper. Pour this mixture over the fillings in  the dish. Place quiche in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until aknife inserted in the center comes out clean.

This is the basic routine for making one of these criches…preheat oven, grease pan, get your add-ins ready and put them in the pan, and then pour your egg-cream mixture over that and bake. When I post other criche variations you’ll see similar instructions.

Make-ahead directions: You can prep the add-ins and quiche base and put them in separate containers in your fridge. When ready to cook, preheat your oven, grease your pan, pour in the add-ins and egg-cream mixture and bake.

Reheating directions: I have found this reheats beautifully. I put a piece on my toaster oven tray and reheat for about 15 minutes at 300 degrees. I put a piece of foil over it, thinking it will keep it more moist–this may not be necessary.

Serves 6-9 (I cut the quiche in my 9″ square casserole dish into 9 pieces–3×3–that I think are just right for breakfast. However if you use a different dish or are just hungrier you might cut it into fewer pieces).

Looking for other breakfast ideas? Try my Grain-Free Omelet Muffins too!

Great Kitchen Tools: The Best Garlic Crusher

I go through a lot of garlic, how about you?

While it’s certainly possible to mince garlic with a knife, and crush it with the side of a knife, I find it so much faster to run the cloves through my garlic press when I make salad dressing or do anything else calling for garlic (such as in Spaghetti Squash Bolognese or Scarborough Fair Veal Burgers). I used to have one of those metal presses with a hinge. I find the garlic squishes out the side of those. This plastic screw type shown above is so much better! You put the peeled cloves in the tube, and the put the plunger in and turn the screw. All the garlic stays neatly inside and is forced out the perforated end in a nice neat even crushed mince.

The garlic crusher, awaiting the loading of peeled cloves

To me the one drawback is that since it is plastic, it is not quite as hard-wearing as the metal type. After a while, I broke the perforated end of my first one because after peeling the cloves, I didn’t cut off the hard ends where they attach to the bottom of the bulb and over time I guess forcing those hard bits through weakened the plastic. But now I always cut off the ends and my second press has lasted many years so far.

I searched for

:)

a long time trying to find who sells this press since I’d forgotten where I got it. I wanted to recommend it to others, plus know where to get another if/when my second one breaks! Internet searches never turned it up–I went through dozens of listings and image searches. Happily, I was cleaning out some paper files I saved and rediscovered a catalog I’d saved from Hosgood’s garlic products (dated 2002!). There was my garlic press pictured in the catalog! So there, boyfriend, THAT’s why I save all that paper!    The web address listed redirected automatically to Silver Leaf International, who, it turns out, bought them out a few years back.

A customer service rep told me that they don’t make my exact press anymore, but they do sell a similar version made by Turn-It. It’s made in the USA, and dishwasher safe–although I always clean mine by hand (only takes a moment) since I find I usually need to pick out a little garlic debris with the tip of a knife and I’m not sure if that would come out in the dishwasher. In theory you can crush out some garlic, and then leave the rest of the cloves inside the tool and put it in the fridge with the rubber cap on the end. If you do this I would use it up in the next day or two. I used to do this, but I found that over time the garlic will eat away at the plastic, more so the longer it’s in contact. So I much prefer to just use it and wash it right away, and not store garlic inside.

Old vs. New Garlic Crusher

Old vs. New Garlic Crusher

Turn-It only sells wholesale, and after going through all the retailers they list on their site, I found that Silver Leaf International has the best price. They are currently selling it on clearance for only $13 (regularly $16). I actually just bought several

because if mine breaks I want to have more than one backup, that’s how much I like this tool. Let’s all buy one from them and maybe they won’t discontinue selling it!

Thanks for reading Farm Food Blog! Eat well.