It may have snowed earlier this week, but there is one sure sign of spring here – asparagus! They become more abundant and less expensive in the coming weeks. However, right now I’m just excited just to see them piled high in the grocery produce section. While I do love asparagus simply roasted as a side dish, I’m also thinking about how to use asparagus in other ways.
While asparagus quiche came to mind, Passover is not too far away. During that week-long Jewish holiday, using flour other than in the form of matzo meal or matzo cake meal (a more finely ground version of matzo meal) is prohibited. To stay Passover-friendly, I decided on asparagus mini-quiche using grated potatoes for the shell instead of a flour-based pie crust. These mini-quiche are perfect as appetizers, or a few could make a good size portion for lunch or a side dish for dinner. Although there is a fork in the photograph below, in my book they are really finger food.
The potatoes-instead-of-pie-crust concept came from my friend Stacey Viera. She once made me delicious muffin cups with Trader Joe’s hash browns as the base. I didn’t have her recipe and decided to make my base homemade, but she was the inspiration for this particular frolic and detour. And so, this recipe is dedicated to Stacey – with friendship and appreciation for her many talents and her wonderful sense of humor.
Servings – 12 muffin cups Cost – $4
- 2 cups grated red skinned potatoes – about 4 medium-large potatoes
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 teaspoons matzo (regular or cake) meal or all-purpose flour if you are not making these for Passover
- ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons oil
- Approximately 15-18 asparagus (¾ pound)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 4 eggs
- ½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
- Muffin tin (for 12 regular-size muffins)
- Cutting board
- 2 knives, 1 medium and 1 small
- Small pan for roasting asparagus
- Measuring cups (for liquids and solids)
- Measuring spoons
- 2 small bowls or ramekins
- Pastry brush
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut off the ends of the asparagus, place them in the pan, drizzle olive oil over them and roast in a toaster oven or regular oven for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. If they are done before the potato base, let them rest on the cutting board.
- Brush the muffin cups with oil.
- Grate the potatoes. (Peeling the skin is optional. My potato skins were dodgy, so I peeled them.) Rinse them in a strainer to eliminate extra starch and keep them from turning brown, pat them dry and add the egg, chopped onion, matzo meal/flour, along with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Brush each muffin cup with oil, put about 2 teaspoons of the mixture into the cup and press it down with the back of a teaspoon, against the muffin cup bottom and sides. Brush the potato mixture with oil and bake the empty muffin cups for about 15 minutes until browned at the edges. I used canola oil in the empty muffin tin and olive oil in the potato-filled cups, but you could use just one type of oil.
- Stir the sour cream until smooth. After measuring the milk into the measuring cup, add the sour cream, eggs and seasonings and stir until well combined.
- Chop the asparagus into small pieces. Put about 2 teaspoons of asparagus into each cup.
- Fill each cup with the liquid mixture and top with 1-2 teaspoons of grated Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are browned and puffy. As the mini-quiche cool, they will shrink slightly.
- To serve, run a small sharp knife around the edges of each cup. If the empty muffin cups with adequately brushed with oil, the mini-quiche should release from the pan without much difficulty.