A few years ago my parents decided to start raising backyard chickens. Not ones to do anything halfway, my parents started out with 25 egg-laying chickens and 25 meat chickens. If you're going to raise chickens, you might as well make it worth while! Now more than two years into their chicken venture, they've found a nice pace; a freezer full of naturally raised and vegetarian fed broiler chickens, and a backyard of inquisitive and always hilarious egg-layers. Seriously just watching the chaos that is the life of a chicken is pretty amusing. I have to think life as a chicken is a world of two extremes; fear and single-focused interest in the moment at hand. It's wildly amusing to see their reaction to a cabbage or corn cob tossed into their enclosure, first fear then absolute delight at this new food treat.
The problem with 25 egg-laying hens, is that on average, a hen will lay one egg a day. Often when the chickens are happy and content, my parents will find more than 2 dozen eggs in the coop each day. So what do you do with all of those eggs? When we lived in Michigan, a dozen eggs was (and still is) a common parting gift at my parents house. This recipe was developed in the hunt for new ways to use a lot of really great farm raised eggs. Now that we're on the West Coast, I still try to find the best possible source for naturally raised, vegetarian fed chickens and eggs. They really do taste better than the commercially farmed equivalent.
Start the quiche with the crust. A homemade crust is not difficult, and you can certainly use a store bought crust, but as always, homemade is better. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and in a food processor or a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cut in 1/2 cup of cold butter (1 stick) until the mixture is crumbly. Try not to overwork the butter into the dough or it may become tough. Add 1/4 cup of water a little at a time until a soft dough is formed. Turn out onto a floured board and knead three or four times adding flour if the dough is too sticky. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
While dough is resting in the refrigerator, start caramelizing the onions. In a medium sized pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Over medium low heat, add thinly sliced onions and cook until nicely caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and on a floured surface, roll out into a circle large enough to fit your pie or tart pan. Fit dough into the pie plate and trim excess. Prick bottom with a fork. Line with tinfoil and place pie weights or dried beans in the bottom.
Blind bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.
When crust is done, remove tinfoil and weights. Cool 5-10 minutes. Begin assembling quiche. Layer caramelized onions, 1 cup of shredded fontina cheese, and 1 cup of chopped smoked salmon.
In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup of heavy cream until it becomes a very soft whipped cream. In a separate bowl, whisk three eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well into the heavy cream and pour into the pie shell.
Bake quiche 20-25 minutes, decreasing oven temperature from 400 degrees to 350 degrees halfway through baking time. Quiche is done when center is set and crust and quiche are nicely browned.
I served this quiche with a small side salad and a great white wine for a light dinner. The quiche is just as good room temperature as it is hot out of the oven.
Smoked Salmon Fontina QuicheBy Land of Noms, November 16, 2014
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of cold butter
- 1/4 cup of cold water
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 cup of shredded fontina cheese
- 1 cup of smoked salmon, diced
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 3 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- In a food processor, combine flour and 1 teaspoon of salt
- Add cold butter, cut into small pieces
- Cut butter into flour until mixture is crumbly
- Add cold water, a little at a time, until a soft dough forms
- Turn dough onto floured surface and knead three or four times until smooth
- Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate
- In a medium sized pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil
- Saute onions over medium heat until caramelized; remove from heat and set aside
- Retrieve refrigerated dough and roll out on a floured surface into a circle large enough to fit pie plate
- Fit dough into a pie plate or tart pan and trim excess; prick bottom with a fork or knife to vent
- Line dough with tinfoil and weight with pie weights or dried beans; blind bake for 10 minutes
- When prepared crust has cooled 5-10 minutes, layer onions, grated fontina cheese, and smoked salmon evenly on the bottom
- Whisk heavy cream in a large bowl until a very soft whipped cream has formed
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and season with salt and pepper
- Add eggs to cream and combine thoroughly; pour over filling
- Bake quiche 20-25 minutes, turning oven down from 400 degrees to 350 degrees halfway through baking time
- Quiche is done when center is set and crust is browned
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