Saturday, April 30, 2016

Vegetable Fern, Salami & Capsicum Quiche

Vegetable fern, salami & capsicum quiche
Vegetable fern, salami & capsicum quiche
One of the joys of baking is, incorporating local or home-grown produce into my pies and tarts. In most of the quiches that I bake, the greens come from invasive but edible plants from my garden. A bit of goosefoot, some amaranth and even purslane have been incorporated into the filling. And thank goodness for the rains. Despite the wetland feel, these greens sprout in abundance during this season. 
For a while I had been thinking about using vegetable fern in a quiche and making the look a little dramatic than usual.:)

My small bed of capsicums have borne me a harvest to be proud of! They aren't big but fully matured so I picked five today to mix into the filling. They were duly washed, stalks removed, halved, and the innards removed. Then I chopped them into itsy-bitsy pieces.
Vegetable fern, salami & capsicum quiche

Here's a look at all the other ingredients that went into the quiche. I forgot to take a picture of the pastry shell and remembered it only after it was ready to hit the oven!
Ingredients:(for a 7" tart tin)
I had a tart shell ready so that part of the recipe will be left out in this post.
1 large onion, peeled and chopped fine
3 capsicums, cleaned and chopped fine (this yielded 1 cup)
1 tsp coarsely grated peppercorns
A quarter tsp chilli flakes, optional
3 eggs, beaten with-----
2/3 cup cream
3 cubes of cheese, grated ( I used Britannia) 
7-8 pieces chicken salami
About 15-18 vegetable fern fronds 
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil 

Method:
Heat a pan and pour the oil in it.
Fry the thawed salami in batches till they turn golden brown. Remove and place on paper towels. Set aside.
In the same oil, add the onions and cook till they turn translucent.
Add the capsicum and the vegetable fern and cook till they soften a bit but they should not turn mushy.
Season with very little salt as the cheese is salty. Add the chilli flakes, if using, and continue to cook till the ferns are half done.
Switch off the gas but do not remove the pan as the residual heat in the pan as well as the stove will cook the mix further. The onions and capsicums do not need much cooking but the fern needs a little more time.
I could have done it separately but since the quantity wasn't much, I added the fronds with the onions and capsicum.
Vegetable fern, salami & capsicum quiche
Before & after shots.:)
Meanwhile, beat the eggs and add the cream. Mix well.
Add the grated pepper and the grated cheese. If you like you could keep some cheese aside for the topping.
Once the mixture cools down a bit, take the prepared quiche shell and start layering.
Tear off the salami into halves and place them on the base. The idea is to get a good piece in every wedge!!
Remove the vegetable ferns and set aside. Add the onion/capsicum mix to the salami.
Place the half-filled quiche on a baking tray. This makes it easier to carry/place it in the oven.
Pour the egg/cream/cheese mix in the shell. Scatter the rest of the grated pepper on top.
Now take the vegetable ferns and place them in a pattern that you like. Scatter the cheese (if you have kept some aside) on top.
Bake in a 180C oven for 25-30 minutes or till the edges are golden brown and the centre is still a little wobbly. It will continue to cook as it cools down. In case the browning happens too soon, place a piece of foil on top midway through the baking process.
Remove and let it cool down. This tastes best when still warm.


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