Tyler Florence’s Deep Dish Ham Quiche with Asparagus and Herb Salad

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin-olive oil
2 large Vidalia onions, sliced
3/4 pound smoked ham, cubed
8 large eggs
1 quart heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches asparagus (about 1 pound each), stems trimmed
4 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a peeler
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, hand-torn
1 handful fresh mint, hand-torn
1 handful fresh dill, hand-torn
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the pastry: combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat the egg yolk and ice water in a small bowl to blend, add it to the pastry. Work it in to bind the dough until it holds together without being too wet or sticky. Squeeze a small amount together, if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the counter and a rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin (this may take a little practice) and lay it inside a 9-inch springform pan. Press the dough firmly into the bottom and sides so it fits tightly; trim the excess dough around the rim. Place the pan on a sturdy cookie sheet so it will be easier to move in and out of the oven, this quiche is pretty heavy.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the filling: Heat a skillet over medium-low heat, coat the pan with oil, and add the onions. Slowly cook the onions, stirring, until they caramelize and release their natural sugars. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to help the onions break down, if needed. Toss in the ham, cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes to get some color on it. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy, pour in the cream; season with salt and pepper. Arrange the caramelized onions and ham over the bottom of the crust and carefully pour in the cream and egg mixture; the filling should be about 1-inch from the top of the pan. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes or until the quiche is set, puffy, and jiggles slightly. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. In the meantime make the asparagus salad.

To make the asparagus salad: In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the asparagus for 4 minutes, or until they are just crisp-tender. Drain the asparagus, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, and drain well. Slice the asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the Parmesan and herbs, drizzle the herb and asparagus salad with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Loosen the quiche from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Carefully unmold the ring, and transfer the quiche (with the bottom base) to a serving plate. Cut it into wedges, drizzle with a little olive oil, and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with the asparagus salad on top.

So here’s the thing – I don’t have a 9-inch springform pan and I was certainly not about to make my own pie crust, ya dig?
so instead I bought a 9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust and figured i’d make it work…

the other thing is that i had bookmarked this recipe on my mom’s laptop which i didn’t realize she was taking to church with her so i had to wing it even more…

well 8 eggs and an entire QUART of heavy cream sounded like a lot, so i checked my favorite standby quiche recipe from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest (a lovely cookbook) it’s on page 131, can you believe i still had that memorized?!!!
anyway my suspicions were confirmed – the EBF recipe called for 3 eggs and 1 cup milk, or 4 eggs and 1.5 cups milk for a deep dish pan.

So I used 5 eggs and 1 cup of heavy cream. plus i wish i had thought to use just 1 onion, but i saved the rest and we had them with pork chops for dinner that night. and i used probably about 1/3 lb of ham.

THEN there was the asparagus herb salad – without the recipe this was a major improvisation.
why i thought that “blanching” the asparagus spears meant chopping them first and then boiling them for 10 minutes…i’ll never know.
but anyway the asparagus was cooked a lot more than was intended…
and i think i either used too much herbage, or it was just too much for my personal tastes (my parents devoured all the herbs on their plates so maybe it was just me…)

but the quiche, which i re-named Ham & Onion Pie, was fabulous!!! and the asparagus was tasty, and they went really well together! so i was very pleased. plus with the herbs in the salad and the herbs on the potatoes they all meshed well.

quiches are just great in general i think, i’ve always liked them and used to make them quite a bit as a youngster because you could just throw whatever meat and veg you had laying around into a frozen crust with some cheese and eggs and milk and you had dinner!
it’s really too bad that Bear doesn’t like them… punkass…