18th September 2019
After two weeks away, coming home to a spring garden has been a real treat. I have returned from my culinary adventure around Italy where cooking with the seasons is a given. In fact, according to the tutor of a cooking class I attended, “why would you cook any other way?”
I love the creativity this approach brings to cooking, with the bonus that food in season is generally cheapest. If you are not sure what is in season look at what is piled high and looks the freshest, and is sitting front and centre at the store. Fresh produce doesn’t keep like packaged food.
A quick walk around the garden on my return, I was welcomed to the green season of spring. The plantings made in autumn that slowed to a snail pace over winter are growing with vigour. Leeks, silver beet, broad beans and celery, as well as herbs such as chives and parsley are bouncing to life.
After a lean few months from the garden, I love this time of the year for the rapid growth of all things green. It is also when laying hens ramp up their egg production. So, with garden greens and eggs so bountiful, it is time to make a spring quiche.
Spring Greens & Ricotta Quiche
Anything goes for the greens component of this quiche – broccoli, spinach, mix up the herbs, even asparagus as it comes into season. The ricotta can be replaced with 100g feta and 150g cream for a different taste and texture. Make it your own using the quantities below as the base.
- ¾ cup white flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ⅓ cup pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- 75 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small egg
- Lemon juice, if needed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek or 4 small, roughly chopped
- 4-5 large leaves of silver beet, stalks removed
- 4 eggs
- 250 g ricotta
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Handful of spring herbs – parsley, chives, coriander, roughly chopped
- Generous pinch of salt and twist of black pepper
- A handful grated cheddar cheese and pumpkin seeds for topping
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Grease a deep 20cm quiche dish (or use a 25cm tart dish).
Place the flour, oats, pumpkin seeds and salt into a food processor and blend until roughly ground. In a small jug whisk together the olive oil and egg. Add to the food processor and pulse briefly until the mixture comes together. Press the mixture between your fingers, if it holds together without crumbling it is ready. If the mixture is dry, add two to three teaspoons of lemon juice and pulse again to combine.
Tip the dough directly into the greased quiche or tart dish and press evenly into the base and sides. Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes.
Prepare the filling. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the leek and saute for five minutes until softened. Wash the silverbeet and roughly chop, add to the pan, and cover with a lid. Cook for five minutes until wilted then remove from the heat. Place the eggs, ricotta, lemon zest, herbs, and seasoning into the food processor (there is no need to clean it after making the base). Add the cooked greens and blend until smooth. Pour the green custard into the pre-baked quiche base. Sprinkle with cheese and pumpkin seeds.
Bake for 35- to 40 minutes until the custard is just set. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges, or serve cold. Serve with roasted spring vegetables and aioli.
To make aioli - combine three tablespoons of good-quality (or homemade) mayonnaise with one finely chopped garlic clove and one teaspoon wholegrain mustard.
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