Goodness, it took a while to name that quiche…I mean, how much information do you really want in the title? It’s actually quite heavy on dill as well as ‘minty peas’, but the scallops and crayfish are equally important…it’s also made with a filo pastry base to keep it light, but that’s just by the by. Phew!
I’m feeling very happy right now, having just had a last-minute ‘coffee and cake thang’ with my beautiful friend who’s about to burst…with a baby, I mean. She’s annoyingly still looking her usual gorgeous and sophisticated self…just with an enormous beachball stuffed under her dress. She wears it well though 😉
It wasn’t all gossip and gorging of course; I also visited the recycling bank where I spent an inordinately long time hovering between the brown and green domes, trying to decide whether bottles were more one colour than the other. Does it matter? I worry that it does, and as a responsible citizen I want to get it right. I fear it does not, however.
Anyhoo, I’m home again now and all set to regale you with news of my latest recipe creation – ‘hurrah’ I hear you cry!
As I mentioned in my last post, Matt and I have just spent a few wonderful days exploring the streets (and shops…and restaurants) of Paris. Despite the many miles we must have covered on foot, we more than replenished any spent energy with tasty treats-a-plenty from the various eateries that France’s fair capital has to offer. From trendy new coffee shops to traditional patisseries through to gourmet markets and hip restaurants using only locally-sourced ingredients; we ate a lot. And I think it shows. Hey-ho – ‘when in Paris’ eh!
I’ve tried to keep things lighter at meal times this week (aside from today’s ‘cake for lunch’ and the Fathers Day barbecue last weekend – I’m not even convincing myself!). However, I was a bit sad to realise that I hadn’t consumed a single morsel of quiche whilst in Paris – and I always eat quiche in France! I couldn’t believe it! My immediate reaction was of course to go straight back, but actually a more sensible option seemed to just make my own. Which I have done. And it is green. And it is good.
Harry Eastwood wrote a book called ‘The Skinny French Kitchen’ which I dug out for inspiration. I remembered trying her recipe for Mini Quiches Lorraine, which uses filo pastry instead of the usual shortcrust and it worked well, so I’ve made a larger version but with a different filling. Our petit pois are growing slowly but surely at the bottom of the garden (although not as surely as I’d like), so it will be a couple more weeks before we’re able to gorge on those sweet little green pearls. No matter; I find the frozen kind are equally good, or even preferable, especially for cooking (I like to eat fresh peas raw) and they’re ready and waiting for whenever I need them. So thoughtful.
Mint, conversely, is growing like wild fire – or, at least, a well-controlled fire – in a large tub on the patio so I’ve been adding a minty element to pretty much every dish, recently. Tis one of the many great tastes of summer, no? In any case, it’s certainly a classic partner for peas, and I wanted to incorporate this in my quiche. Green Quiche; cool eh!
Scallops go well with pea puree, so I added those, and we had some crayfish tails knocking about in the fridge that I thought would look beautiful against the green…tasty too. Ooh, it’s sooo good! Fortunately, I was as excited by the taste as I was by the look of this quiche – light but punchy, summery flavours; this one’s a keeper.
If you’d like to make it, here’s how:
- Pack of Filo Pastry (you’ll need four sheets)
- 4 large eggs (or 5 medium eggs)
- 100 ml double cream plus 2 tablespoons for the pea puree
- 200g frozen petit pois
- 6 scallops
- 150g Crayfish tails, (or one small pack)
- 40g clarified butter
- 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
- Mint, a large bunch – leaves removed and washed
- Dill, a large bunch – fronds removed from stem and finely chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- Salt and Pepper
Begin by making a pea puree that you will add to the quiche filling before cooking.
Add the frozen petit pois to a small saucepan and just cover with water. Add a few mint stalks and bring to a boil to blanch quickly. As soon as it’s bubbling remove from the heat and drain in a colander. Run it under cold water to bring the temperature down and pop the peas in a blender.
Add the sugar, a handful of mint leaves, some salt and pepper, the lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of double cream then whizz until pretty smooth. You may need to add a dash of water if it’s very thick, just to loosen it up a bit. Leave to one side.
Next preheat your oven to 200 deg (180 FAN) and prepare your quiche base. I used a metal fluted tin with a removable base (22cm x 3cm) as it conducts the heat well and is easy to remove after baking.
Melt the clarified butter and add the sunflower oil and a little salt, then keep to one side. This will be used to brush on the layers of filo pastry.
Take two clean damp kitchen towels and sandwich your layers of pastry between them, this prevents the pastry from drying out while you’re assembling the base.
Paint the pastry tin with the butter/oil mixture. Paint the base and up the sides of the tin, as well as the top outside edge. This will prevent the pastry from sticking when you remove the finished quiche later.
Then simply place a layer of filo into the tin and press it as flat to the tin as possible. You can use a pastry brush to help you do this.
Then paint the pastry with another layer of the butter/oil combo and continue until you have four layers of filo sandwiched with the fat.
Trim the excess pastry (of which there will be a lot, as it’s sold in rectangles so there is an inevitable excess of length). Prick the base a few times with a fork or knife and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the base is golden.
While it’s baking quickly fry the scallops in a very hot pan to get a bit of colour on them. You don’t want to overcook them, as they will continue to cook in their own residual heat, as well as in the oven later. All your aiming for is to caramelise the outside. After a minute on either side, remove from the pan and leave to cool. Once cooled, cut them into smaller mouth size pieces to add to the quiche later.
When the pastry case has baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly while you prepare the filling.
Whisk the eggs with the cream in a large jug; this makes it easier to transfer into the pastry case. Add the pea puree and lots of finely chopped dill and mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the pastry case then place the scallop pieces and crayfish evenly throughout the quiche.
Bake for 17 minutes, but check after 10. If the edges of the pastry are getting too dark, simply cover them with some foil for the remaining time. The centre should be softly set. Leave to cool slightly before serving.
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