Sunday, February 03, 2008

Veganomicon: Asparagus Quiche With Tomatoes and Tarragon

I'll start by saying that I approached this recipe with great skepticism. Before I became vegan, years ago, I had perfected a spinach and onion quiche, and none have ever measured up. I'm not fond of tarragon as a general rule, and I once had a bean based quiche cooked by an acquaintance that wasn't very good. So I'm sure that you can imagine how pleasant was my surprise that this quiche turned out beautifully.

The crust is wonderfully flakey and crisp, I was afraid that it would burn during the long 45 minute cooking time, but it was just browned, perhaps a bit overly crisp, but not the slightest bit burned. I think the crispness is mainly due to the delicate nature of vegan shortening. I used Earth Balance margarine which softens at room temperature. It's no match for a traditional crust, but it's one of the best vegan crusts I've had.

The bean filling is smooth and creamy, the tomatoes are the perfect juicy-tart counterpoint to the rich creaminess. This is one of the first recipes where I feel that every drop of the oil called for is necessary. The breadcrumbs on top add a wonderful layer of texture.

Unfortunately, although the tomato slices make for a stunning presentation, they make it very difficult to cut the finished quiche. If I make this one again I will dice the tomato and scatter the pieces across the top. The only room for improvement I see with this dish is that I wish the filling were firmer like a traditional quiche. That didn't stop us from devouring the entire thing by ourselves.

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