Swiss chard, red pepper, mascarpone and quails’ egg quiche

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    8

    as a light meal with salad
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

While shooting the photographs for this book, we had several discussions regarding the differences between a quiche, a tart and a pie. As far as I’m concerned, a pie always has a pastry top, a tart is open-topped and a quiche has a pastry bottom and an eggy creamy filling. You can make the pastry yourself, but there are many good brands on the market from which to chose. I used both ducks’ and quails’ eggs in this recipe – the ducks’ eggs add a pleasant richness – but I’ve allowed for hens’ eggs to be used. If you can’t get quails’ eggs, then just skip them, but they do add visual appeal. Serve this warm with a green salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 red peppers
  • 400 g shortcrust pastry
  • flour, for dusting
  • 4 large banana shallots, sliced into rings
  • 60 g butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • bunch of Swiss chard (about 450g)
  • 500 ml hot water
  • flaked salt
  • 150 g mascarpone cheese
  • 4 ducks’ eggs (or 5 hens’ eggs)
  • 220 ml double cream
  • 8 quails’ eggs

Method

Grill or roast the peppers to blacken the skins, turning frequently, then place in a sealed plastic bag and leave to cool. Once cool, peel off the skin, discard the stem and seeds, and cut the flesh into strips.

While the peppers are cooling, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4, if necessary. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 30cm quiche dish. Line the pastry shell with baking parchment, weight with baking beans or dried pulses and blind-bake until just golden brown (12–15 minutes). Take from the oven, leaving it on, then remove the beans and lining paper.

Meanwhile, sauté the shallots in the butter to soften them, then add the garlic and cook until caramelized, stirring often to prevent sticking.

Shred the chard into 1cm pieces, keeping the leaves separate from the stalks. Once the shallots are cooked, add the stalks to them, together with the 500ml hot water. Stir it all together, then cover and boil for 8 minutes. Mix in the leaves, cover again and cook another 8 minutes at a gentle boil.

Take the lid off and season with a teaspoon of flaked salt and some pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the mascarpone and half the peppers to the pan, and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, beat the ducks’ or hens’ eggs and cream together, then stir into the chard mixture and pour into the quiche pastry shell. Scatter the remaining peppers on top, then crack the quails’ eggs evenly over the surface.

Place the quiche on a rack in the centre of the oven and cook for 15–20 minutes. Because the egg mixture is already hot, it won’t take long to cook. It’s ready when the top is set and feels firm – but also has a sponginess to it. Take from the oven and leave to sit for 15 minutes before serving.