The days when you allow the farmers market to dictate what you make for dinner are kind of awesome days. To be quite honest, they've become rarer and rarer around our house as we've become busier during the weekends. But there's something quite sweet about ambling around the market and chatting about what you could make with certain ingredients. This weekend, we had time to visit our local farmers market and found some beautiful looking sorrel, leeks, and farm eggs.
One idea led to another and another and we settled on this simple, delicious spring quiche. It's a relatively simple quiche recipe studded with fresh herbs (and my secret quiche ingredient: ricotta) and caramelized leeks. Right before serving it, you lay a layer of fresh sorrel on the top and have a tart, lemony addition that just screams spring.
If you haven't yet tried sorrel, it has a wonderful, bright lemon flavor that compliments the quiche nicely. Our favorite pizza spot here in Seattle, Delancey, has been doing a special pizza this spring with sorrel on top which is where I got the idea for this quiche. They toss it on top of the pizza just as it comes out of the oven, so as not to wilt or brown the leaves. The result is a bite of chewy, cheesy pizza with a bit of tangy greens on top. It's become a new favorite. I don't trim the stems off of the sorrel before laying it atop the quiche only because it seems far too fussy to me. The stems are delicious and just fine to consume, but if you'd prefer not to eat them, just trim them away before laying the sorell on top of your finished quiche.
When you're putting this quiche together, it's smart to think about your crust for just a moment. This recipe calls for apple cider vinegar which will add flakiness; it helps inhibit the formation of gluten which is what can lead to tough pie crust. I bake this quiche in a 9-inch fluted tart pan but you can certainly use a more traditional 9-inch pie pan as well. Do know that if you use a tart pan as I did, you're going to have a little leftover pie dough (see my note below for what to do with your leftovers) .
Spring Quiche with Leeks and Sorrel
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
3-5 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the Filling:
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), cleaned and sliced into 1/2 - inch pieces (should yield about 1/2 cup)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup 2 % milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped dill (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary (fresh or dried)
2 cups fresh sorrel, washed and dried well
Make the Dough:
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt a few times to combine. Add the cubes of butter and pulse continuously until the mixture starts to look like tiny pebbles. With the food processor running, drizzle in the apple cider vinegar, followed by the ice water, stopping when the mixture just begins to come together. Working quickly, form the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Prepare the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 375° F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an approximately 12-inch circle. Gently press into a 9-inch tart or pie pan, trimming any overhang. Line the dough with aluminum foil and dried beans (or pie weights) and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, and take out the foil and beans. Brush the crust with the egg white and prick the bottom with a knife or a fork to allow air to release and prevent bubbling. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Make the Filling:
In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the leeks. Stir until they're coated in oil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook the leeks until they're golden brown and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes. Check their progress after 15 minutes to ensure you don't burn them (depending on what kind of pan you're using, the cook time can vary slightly).
Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese, milk, half and half, ricotta, salt, pepper, dill and rosemary.
When the leeks are done cooking, lay them out on top of the pre-baked crust. Place the pan on top of a cookie sheet for easy transport. Pour the filling on top of the leeks and place the quiche in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the quiche has puffed and is set in the middle and just slightly golden.
Allow the quiche to cool slightly, about 12 minutes. If you put the sorrel on while the quiche is piping hot, the delicate greens will brown. Sprinkle the sorrel on top, slice and serve. Quiche is best served room temperature the day it is made although it will keep just fine covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (the sorrel is just going to get a bit wilty).
How to Make Pie Brittle (or what to do with leftover dough)
Preheat your oven to 350° F. K Lay your leftover pieces of dough out flat on a baking sheet, brush them with melted butter, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Bake them for 5-7 minutes or until just lightly golden brown. The result: pie brittle! A wonderful snack or delightful sprinkled on top of vanilla ice cream.
Wine Recommendation from Mary Gorman-McAdams With this dish it is important not to let the leeks overpower the wine, yet also brig out the flavor of the sorrel and compliment the creaminess of the eggs. I would go for something like an Alsace or Oregon Pinot Gris, which are sufficiently fruity, yet have a rich texture to compliment the egg and hints of spice to contrast the leeks and saorrel yet not dominate.
• 2010 Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, oregon, $18 - Appealing and juicy stone fruit flavors, hints of white flowers and nice spicy kick.
• 2009 Hugel 'Classic' Pinot Gris, Alsace, France, $19 - Richly textured, nice viscosity. Earthy notes mingling with flavors of ripe apricot and orange citrus.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.
(Image: Megan Gordon)