I'm not really sure what made me choose smoked haddock for this quiche, other than the fact that white fish is one of my "safe havens" where the risk of gout is concerned and as such, bacon, ham or sausage were out. Obviously, I fancied making a quiche and I think I've become quite passably good at them over time. It is unusual for me to pick fish as a quiche ingredient, but this combination of smoked haddock and asparagus worked really well.
(It is worth bearing in mind, if you - like me - have to watch gout triggers, that asparagus is also a very famous gout trigger. However, I think that the amount of asparagus in each portion of quiche isn't at danger point for me. Do judge that for yourself, though).
If you're looking for a quiche in the style of Quiche Lorraine, i.e. super cheesy and stuffed with bacon, then you may need to up the cheese quota and/or change from Gouda to mature Cheddar. However, I didn't want the primary flavour to be cheese in this quiche, so I opted for the milder Gouda.
The smoked haddock is poached in milk, which also tends to mellow out the flavour a wee bit - although I used some of the poaching milk in the filling, to catch as much flavour as possible. I have issues with throwing good flavour away down the drain!
A very good point with making any quiche, is that you can get on with the making and baking in the morning, then take it relatively easy where putting dinner together is concerned. Just assemble a few tasty salad ingredients and maybe add a few buttered new potatoes - or in our case in this instance, chips - and you're done. A good one for those make-ahead days!
SMOKED HADDOCK & ASPARAGUS QUICHE (serves 4-6)
Sufficient shortcrust pastry to line an 8" loose bottomed sandwich tin or quiche dish
125g asparagus tips
250g smoked haddock fillets (chunky ones are best)
250g or thereabouts semi skimmed milk
2 whole very large or 3 whole large eggs
150ml single cream
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
half a tsp onion granules
75g Gouda cheese, finely grated
a pinch of dried parsley, to garnish.
Pre-heat the oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4.
Carefully line the sandwich tin or quiche dish with pastry, ensuring the pastry doesn't become pierced. Cover the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill the case with baking beans or ceramic pellets then bake for 15 minutes. Remove the greaseproof and baking beans and bake again for another 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In the meantime and in a small saucepan, boil some water and add the asparagus tips. Cook for 3 minutes, then drain and run under cold water to arrest the cooking process. Set aside to drain fully.
Place the smoked haddock into a small lidded frying pan and add the milk. The milk shouldn't cover the fish, but come two thirds of the way up. Place on the heat to simmer with the lid on until the fish is just cooked. Set the pan aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, add the eggs and quickly whisk them together. Add the cream, sea salt, black pepper and onion granules and whisk them all together.
Cut the asparagus tips to fit the surface of the quiche in an attractive pattern. Cut the excess into small log shapes and add them to the egg mixture. Set the decorative pieces to one side.
Remove the fish from the milk and take off any skin. Flake the fish into the egg mixture and add the grated cheese.
Judge the quantity of egg mixture according to the pastry case and add a little of the poaching milk. Gently stir everything together, so as not to break up the fish any further.
Using a slotted spoon, spoon the solids from the egg mixture into the pastry case and spread evenly. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case, but make sure it doesn't overflow or the quiche will argue about coming out of the tin once baked. Any excess can be poured into a ramekin and baked for a cook's bonus taster.
Arrange the remainder of the asparagus spears attractively over the surface of the filling and press lightly so that they are partly submerged. Add a light sprinkle of dried parsley and a grind of pepper, then bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and firm to the touch.
Serve with a side salad and buttered new potatoes or chips.