• Bute St Seafoodie

Smoked Trout, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Wild Garlic Quiche

Updated: Apr 6

"Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart."

Victor Hugo (1802-1885)



When purple sprouting broccoli and wild garlic come on sale in the farmers' markets, it's a sure sign early spring is upon us. A cue to eagerly anticipate the clocks changing and the lighter evenings that results.


This recipe really came to me on a whim and is just an amalgamation of very seasonal ingredients put together in a formula I have been using for years. It's always a pleasure chatting with Charlie and David of Charlie's Trout (and Charlie's Smokehouse) and this weekend David very kindly gave me a pack of their kiln-smoked (i.e. hot-smoked) trout. Smoked fish has long taken a starring role in a quiche, so with some spring veg to accompany, this recipe more or less wrote itself.

Delicious warm out of the oven, I actually found this quiche to be most enjoyable fridged overnight and eaten at room temperature the next day. Serve with dill pickles - they accompany the smoked trout superbly.

I normally make my shortcrust pastry with half butter and half lard. For whatever reason, on this occasion I made an all-butter version and I've given the recipe in the notes. A shop-bought all-butter shortcrust pastry would be perfectly good to use.


The procedure for baking the pastry case may look a little protracted but it gives reliably good results. It came from a recipe in "Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey" and is the method I have used for many years. The coating of egg white in the final step creates a handy seal separating the wet ingredients from the pastry and gives a much better end result to the base of the quiche. Equally a little trick I always use is to heat a baking sheet in the oven upon which to place the tart tin. This has the effect of the imparting as much heat as possible into the base of the tart tin and helping to crisp up the bottom of the quiche.


As far as ingredients go, a quiche is something of a blank canvas. In this case spring onion would make a nice alternative to the chives, and basil, chervil or parsley would be good substitutes for the dill. I suspect tarragon, though sharing the aniseed note of dill and chervil, would be a little overwhelming.


Do make a point of seasoning the custard especially generously with pepper - cream-based "sauces" do benefit from that extra little hit of piquancy.




Smoked Trout, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Wild Garlic Quiche



Ingredients (Serves 2-3 as a main course, 4-6 as a starter or snack)

75-100g hot smoked trout, skin removed, broken into generous chunks

Shortcrust pastry, sufficient to line an 18cm tart tin (if making fresh, see Notes)

2 knobs of butter

2 eggs, 1 separated

50-60g wild garlic (weight after removing coarse stalks), washed and drained

60g purple sprouting broccoli, mainly the floret ends, cut into 1-1½" pieces

100ml double cream

1 tbsp horseradish sauce

½ tsp hot English mustard

½ tbsp chopped dill leaves

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

¼-½ tsp finely grated lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground black pepper



Method

  1. Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat the oven to 200°C.

  2. On a floured surface roll out the pastry into a circle of thickness about 3mm. Grease an 18cm tart tin with one of the knobs of butter and line the tin with the pastry, removing any excess with a small sharp knife or by running a rolling pin over the top of the tart tin. Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork in several places then lay a crumpled piece of foil inside and fill with baking beans. Place on the hot baking sheet in the oven and (blind-) bake for 15 mins. Remove the foil and the baking beans and return to the oven for a further 5 mins. Next brush the pastry case with the unwhisked white of the separated egg and bake for 1 more minute then allow to cool somewhat. Lower the oven temperature to 190°C.

  3. While the pastry case is baking, heat the second knob of butter in a sauté pan until it starts to foam. Add the wild garlic leaves and allow them to wilt for about 1 min. Transfer to a plate to allow to cool, then chop coarsely.

  4. Steam the purple sprouting broccoli, seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper, for 3 mins. Refresh in cold water and drain well, then wrap in kitchen paper to absorb as much moisture as possible.

  5. For the custard mixture, whisk together the whole egg and remaining egg yolk, the cream, horseradish sauce, mustard, herbs and lemon zest and season generously, especially with pepper.

  6. Arrange the smoked trout, purple sprouting broccoli and wild garlic in the pastry case, pour over the custard and place the tart tin on the baking tray back in the oven for about 25 mins until set and turning golden. Allow to cool a little before serving.


Notes

  • Shortcrust pastry: Sift 160g plain flour and ¼ tsp salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add 80g fridge-cold cubed butter and blend for 15 seconds by which time the mixture will resemble breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large bowl and gradually incorporate 20ml very cold water using a knife. As the dough starts to come together use your hand instead of the knife to bring it fully together adding only as much additional water (approx. 10ml) as necessary to create a ball of dough with everything from the bowl incorporated. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly until the dough becomes smooth. Wrap in cling film and store in the fridge for at least 15 mins until ready to use.


References

  1. "Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey", Rick Stein (1999), pp. 144: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rick-Steins-Seafood-Odyssey-Stein/dp/0563551860


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