As hubby said - and I quite agree with him - Tenderstem broccoli is almost (not quite!) as delicious as asparagus. Now that's saying something, basically because a) asparagus is, well, asparagus, right? I mean, there's not much can rival it for specialness and flavour; and b) Tenderstem broccoli is, not wishing to be unkind, broccoli. Granted, broccoli is one of the few vegetables not greeted with melodramatic sighs and distraught glances (unlike green beans - and you just don't want to hear their opinion on the humble cauliflower or brussels sprout), but ordinary broccoli isn't greeted with anything like the enthusiasm that its Tenderstem brother is.
So, I was quite keen to know a bit more about this 'ere paragon of vegetables and so visited the inevitable Tenderstem website. Amazingly, this website contains rather more than just a page telling you how good broccoli is for you - including some recipes that sound more than do-able and just as yummy.
The one which particularly caught my eye was the Tenderstem broccoli & bacon quiche. Now I've made a quiche before, using ordinary broccoli, which was very nice - so I figured that the combination of the favoured Tenderstem and the amazing bacon we get from our local butcher just had to be a winner.
Like many quiches out there, it is really very easy to make and gives super results. The one thing I will say, is that next time I may very well blanche the stems (not the fluffy bits) for a minute or two before baking. Some of the larger stems were still a bit hard when it came to eating. Blanching shouldn't be difficult, as I cut each stem into three which liberated the fluffy bit anyway. I'm firmly of the opinion that quiches should be soft and pliable throughout, and hitting on a bit of crunchy broccoli stem - although tasty - is a bit of an unwanted wakeup call.
I've reproduced the recipe below, mainly just in case the website ever goes away. That way, I'll always have the recipe to hand - as I can tell I'll be making this one on a regular basis! Oh, and - it incorporates my little tweaks that I made as we went along.
TENDERSTEM BROCCOLI & BACON QUICHE (feeds 5-6)
500g short crust pastry (I used one of the ready rolled frozen pastries)
1 tbsp olive oil
8 rashers of back bacon, diced
1 small clove of garlic, grated
a pack (300g) Tenderstem broccoli
4 medium or large eggs (depending on how big your quiche dish is)
200ml double cream
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
enough grated mature cheddar to sprinkle over the top.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°c (400°f, gas mark 6).
2. Roll out the pastry and line a 16cm spring form tin or quiche dish. Add a layer of greaseproof or baking paper and fill with baking beans. Part-cook for 15-20 minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans.
3. Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the bacon and cook until almost crisp. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
4. Sprinkle the bacon and garlic over the base of the pastry.
5. Cut each stem of broccoli into three pieces (you may want to blanche the stem parts for 2 mins, if they are particularly big). Fill the case with the Tenderstem and lightly mix them with the bacon pieces.
6. Beat the eggs with the cream and season with salt (being aware of the salt in the bacon & cheese) and pepper. Pour the mixture into the case.
7. Sprinkle the grated cheddar over.
8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 35 minutes or until set. Serve warm.