Sunday, March 15, 2009

Asparagus, Chard and Bacon Quiche With A Barley-Chevre "Crust"

Inspiration for this crustless quiche came from two places: Several weeks ago I prepared a vegan rice dish that my son Jeff gave me and a few nights later I put the leftovers in a pie plate, piled roasted winter squash over it, heated it in the oven and took it to Simona's for dinner (that recipe will appear on this blog soon, I hope); today yesterday my friend Leslie was coming came over for a late lunch. I wanted to make a quiche using our backyard chicken eggs but didn't want to make a crust. Cooked barley from the previous day was tossed with some local herbed chevre and made a grain crust that, along with the layers of crispy bacon, vegetables and cheese, created a dish that was exactly what I was trying to achieve. The egg custard finds its way to the bottom of the plate enclosing the barley in its eggy creaminess, and makes a most delightful platter for the quiche.

Making the layers

Ready for the oven

Asparagus, Chard & Bacon Quiche with Barley-Chevre Crust
Christine's Original Recipe
Serves 8-10 as a brunch course
1 1/2 cups cooked barley, cool
4-ounces plain or herbed chevre, crumbled
pinch kosher salt
oil for the pie plate
1 bunch organic asparagus, rinsed, tough ends snapped off
4 strips Niman Ranch Uncured Bacon
6-8 small chard leaves, multi-colored is good
1 cup Lamb Chopper Sheep's Milk Cheese, grated
1 cup good Gruyère cheese (if you can't find Lamb Chopper, substitute another cup of Gruyère), grated
6 eggs (large)
2 cups half n half
1/2 teaspoon jarred mustard like Grey Poupon
a few pinches of kosher salt
Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 12-inch glass pie plate. Wipe with a paper towel.
Toss the barley and crumbled chevre together and place evenly on the bottom of the pie plate, gently pushing it up the sides.
Bake in a 250-degree oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts somewhat. Remove from the oven, set the oven temp to 500-degrees.
With a large spoon, push some of the barley mixture up the sides of the pie plate and tamp it down a bit all over the bottom to make a crust. Set aside to cool.
Cut about 3-inches from the tips of each asparagus spear and reserve. Cut the remaining asparagus stems into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces.
Place asparagus on a very lightly oiled baking sheet and roast in the 500-degree oven for 10 minutes, shaking the pan as needed. Remove from the oven, turn the temperature down to 350-degrees, and allow the asparagus to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon strips in a heavy skillet on medium-high until crisp. Remove to a paper towel to drain and then tear or cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Lay the chard leaves atop each other then roll up length-wise like a cigar. Cut off the stem ends cross-wise and save for another dish. Thinly slice the remaining chard roll cross-wise into very thin strips. Set aside.
Combine the eggs, half 'n half, mustard and salt in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended.
Put the bacon pieces over the barley crust followed by the cut asparagus stems (reserve the tips for the top of the pie).
Sprinkle the cheese over and then spread the chard chiffonade over the cheese.
Pour the egg custard slowly over and around everything, allowing it to settle.
Place the asparagus spears in a pattern of your choosing and it's ready for the oven.
Bake at 350-degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and barely jiggles in the center.
Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes:
I served a very nice, very affordable white wine from La Vieille Ferme that complemented the quiche to perfection. It's a bargain at $7 a bottle and also went well with the pear avocado salad that accompanied the quiche.
I realize that I used 3 different kinds of cheeses in this dish and I promise that they are very complimentary to each other.
Aside from putting the bacon on top of the barley, the rest of the ingredients can layer whichever way you want. Just be sure to put the asparagus on top after pouring in the custard.

Copyright © 2005-2009, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Using cooked barley and chevre for the bottom layer is a great idea. The quiche looks beautiful!

  2. I am always for Quiche! It's this crust that really has my interest up. Love the use of the barley!

  3. Thanks so much, Simona.

    And thanks to you, too, Tanna. This particular barley, a hull-less Ethiopian Barley, is grown 20 minutes from my kitchen - organically to boot! That makes it even more special in my book.

  4. Christine, a gorgeous, seasonal an healthy frittata...a meal in fact.

  5. This is exactly my kind of meal~ and I love the bottle of wine! Can you believe I bought this wine because I thought the labeling was so cute! It turned out to be quite tasty! It was a great choice with your quiche and salad ~hope you are well......

  6. I'm so glad you like this recipe, Jann. It was so good and fed me for several days. And that wine is one of my favorite table whites. It's so inexpensive yet so good!
    I am well, thanks for asking. I keep getting better and better as the days get longer and longer


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