Sunday, April 29, 2012

Leftover grains and grillings yield savory breakfast quiche

Mix of leftover ancient grains, grilled chicken and
asparagus combine for a quick quiche. 
I craved something decadently Southern for breakfast and considered my options: perhaps creamy grits with gobs of melted cheese, or farmer's market eggs cooked to a soft sunny-side-up with crisp strips of just-fried bacon, perfect to discharge golden streaks over buttered toast.

But the combined weight of calories and a fridge filled with leftovers made me feel guilty. Inspired by Maria Speck's Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, I had about 2 1/2  cups couscous steamed in vegetable stock with a handful of golden raisins; about a cup of farro, simmered in water and whey from homemade labneh; and a za'atar-coated chicken thigh and asparagus, remains from a delicious grilled dinner.

Combined, I realized I had the makings of a Middle Eastern-inspired quiche. From inspiration to letting it cool just enough to serve, it was on the table in about an hour. I served with this a dollop of za'atar-spiked labneh, but a spoonful of thick Greek yogurt would be just as nice.

Za'atar Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Quiche with Couscous Crust

Use a ramekin to gently press couscous mix into edges.
2 1/2 cups cooked couscous
1 cup cooked farro
1 tsbp. melted butter
Vegetable oil spray
1 grilled za'atar-seasoned chicken thigh
12 spears grilled asparagus
5 eggs
1/4 cup cream
salt, pepper
Labneh or Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend room temperature couscous and farro in medium mixing bowl; add melted butter and stir to combine. Transfer to two-piece tart pan coated with vegetable oil spray. Spread evenly with a spatula, then press lightly with a small ramekin, working from center out, to cover fluted sides of the pan.

Cover gently with parchment paper and pie weights (I use a mix of beans and rice), and bake about 15 minutes or until firm and lightly golden on edges. Remove and set on a cooling rack. Lift off parchment and weights then leave undisturbed for 10-15 minutes or no longer warm to the touch.

While you wait, chop grilled chicken thigh into small dice. In a medium bowl, beat eggs with cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Distinct bits of couscous and farro form a delicate crust.
Arrange asparagus spears in a pattern, tips toward crust, trimming to lengths as needed at center. Scatter diced chicken between spears then slowly pour in egg mixture. Use a spatula or small spoon to coax egg mixture into any bare spots.

Return to 350 degree oven and bake 12-15 minutes, or until eggs are just set. Remove and let cool on rack for about 10 minutes. If crust has not pulled away from edges, lightly slide the tip of a sharp knife around the circumference to loosen before freeing base from the tart pan.

Lift slices with a flexible metal spatula. Serve immediately with a dollop of labneh or Greek yogurt.

*Note: Za'atar spice blends can be found in Middle Eastern markets and some grocery stores. I am particularly keen on the variety sold by Savory Spice Shop, which has a store in North Raleigh.

No comments:

Post a Comment