Broccoli Raab and Green Garlic Quiche
Berkshire native Alana Chernila, local politician, mother of two, and author of the new cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), shares her peak-of-the-season recipes with Rural Intelligence to help us make the most of what’s growing now. This week’s recipe works equally well for green garlic as for garlic scapes, so choose whichever you find at the farmer’s market or in your garden.
You will never find a “preparation time” in any of my recipes. Not in my book now, probably not in any book I may write in the future, and not here. In some ways, this is a conscious decision based on my knowledge and feelings about how people cook. Although the times at the top of each recipe can be great, I never know how other people are working in their own kitchens. I am a slow cook. I am not a quick, zen-like, mise-en-place cook. If you are in the kitchen with me, I forget what I’m doing. I talk, we drink, I burn something, and I leave all my potato peels on the counter. It takes me a long time to chop an onion.
Some people might write about food because they know everything about it and they want to share their infinite knowledge. Me? I write about food because it’s my way of learning how to feed myself and the people around me. I work with it because I need the practice. And I appreciate the fact that people still come into the kitchen with me to chat while I slowly chop the onion and forget about the butter on the stove. After all, it’s more fun with you here, and over the years, I seem to be learning how to make my way through these moments with a little bit more grace and a little less burned butter.
But why quiche, now, today?
Well, quiche is one of the tricks I’ve learned along the way. If the crust is already made and snugly wrapped in the fridge, quiche comes together quickly and reliably, even if I’m mixing you a drink while I cook. It’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Just keep your eye on the oven, and don’t set your sleeve on fire.
This quiche uses green garlic, which is the whole stalk of garlic that you get in early spring when a garlic patch is being thinned out, or if there is garlic growing where a clove was left in the ground by mistake last summer. Right now in these parts, the best place to find it (besides your own garlic patch) is the farmers’ market. Feel free to substitute the green garlic with chopped garlic scapes (the curly stalk and “flower” of the garlic plant) if that’s where you are in garlic season.
Broccoli Raab and Green Garlic Quiche
Makes one 9-inch pie
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 stalks green garlic or garlic scopes, roughly chopped
1 bunch (about 6 ounces) broccoli raab, leaves and stems, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 recipe pie crust (You can use a frozen pie crust! It’s okay! But here’s a good recipe for homemade, or feel free to use your own favorite recipe.)
4 ounces (about 1 cup) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium pan, heat the butter and oil together over medium heat. When it is fully melted and a bit bubbly, add the green garlic (or scapes). Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broccoli raab, water, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cover, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for another few minutes, or until the broccoli raab is nice and wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. If you’re using homemade pie crust, roll it out on a lightly floured counter at this point. Transfer to a greased pie pan and crimp the edges. Put the crust back into the refrigerator.
3. Whisk together the milk, eggs, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and several grinds of pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
4. Remove the crust from the fridge. (If you’re using store-bought pie crust, take it out of the freezer.) Put the pie pan on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the cheese over the bottom of the crust. Then, add the vegetables, leaving any liquid behind in the pan. Pour the milk mixture over top. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the center of the pie is firm and the crust is golden. Allow to cool, and serve warm or cold. —Alana Chenila