Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quiche

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Asparagus season is almost over in the Bay Area but I’m still finding ways to cook with it before the window closes. This asparagus and goat cheese quiche is a quick and easy way to showcase the seasonal bounty of Northern California: the asparagus is local and I picked up the goat cheese from a recent visit to Pennyroyal Farms in Mendocino County.

This quiche is perfect for breakfast or lunch, or better yet, packed up and served at a picnic.

Asparagus and goat cheese quiche

Ingredients:

1 pie crust
3 ounces diced pancetta
6 eggs
1/2 bunch (7 ounces) asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut on a diagonal into 1-to 1 1/2 in. pieces
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

1. Follow instructions on pie crust to pre-bake crust on a baking sheet in the oven before adding filling ingredients, if needed.

2. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until very crisp, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels.

3. Whisk eggs in a large bowl to blend. Stir in asparagus, chives, the creme fraiche, salt, and pepper until blended. Fold in pancetta. Pour filling into crust and dot with goat cheese.

4. Bake at 400F degrees until filling is set in center when tart is gently shaken, 13 to 20 minutes. Let quiche cool about 10 minutes. With a knife, loosen crust from edge of pan. Carefully push quiche out and set on a platter. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled Corn Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

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It’s hot outside and you don’t want to turn on the stove, so you grill some chicken or steak or sausages instead. Why not grill your salad too? Add a couple cobs of corn and while they cook, chop up some avocados and voila: you’ve got a salad — and a delicious one at that.

Creamy, smoky, and bright with a citrus dressing, this salad hits all the right notes. Feel free to double the recipe — this one goes fast.

Grilled corn salad with honey-lime dressing

Ingredients:

3 ears of corn, husked
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
2 avocados, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves (optional)

1. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Brush ears of corn with butter; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until kernels are tender and charred in spots, 10–12 minutes. Let cool, then cut kernels from cobs.

2. Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, honey, chili garlic sauce, granulated garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl to combine. Add corn, avocados, chile, and cilantro (if using) to vinaigrette and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Avocado Salad with Pickled Mustard Seeds

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It’s avocado season and I’m eating them plain, in salads, in sandwiches, and with eggs — basically any way I possibly can. My new favorite way to enjoy avocados is with pickled mustard seeds: an acidic, vinegary foil for creamy avocados. Adapted from a Milk Street recipe, you can make the dressing ahead of time and you can assemble the salad just before serving.

Avocado salad with pickled mustard seeds

Ingredients:

For the pickled mustard seeds:

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 allspice berries
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the dressing:

Pickled mustard seeds plus 2 tablespoons reserved brine
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons olive oil

To serve:
3 avocados
5 teaspoons lemon juice

1. To make the pickled mustard seeds: In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the mustard seeds and enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the seeds are tender, about 8 minutes. Strain the seeds through a mesh strainer ands transfer to a bowl. Wipe out and reserve the pan.

2. To the pan, add the vinegar, sugar, water, peppercorns, coriander, allspice, bay leaf and pepper flakes, then place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the spices are fragrant and the sugar has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Strain the hot brine over the mustard seeds, discarding the solids, and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. To make the dressing: In a small bowl mix together the pickled mustard seeds and 2 tablespoons reserved brine, the shallot, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Add the marjoram and olive oil and whisk until emulsified.

4. To assemble and sere, slice the avocados in half lengthwise, peel, and remove the pits. Place the avocado halves cut side down. Cut each into 6 lengthwise slices. Arrange the avocado halves on a serving platter or individual plates. Sprinkle lemon juice over the avocado slices. Spoon the dressing over the avocados and serve.

Toasted Caramel Flan

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This is both the most delicious and the ugliest flan I’ve ever made. The texture is unbeatable: think the silkiest flan you’ve ever tasted, and then some. I didn’t do a good job unmolding the flan, hence the awful photo. But the recipe is too good to not share. You probably already have these ingredients at home, so why not make it now? Enjoy.

Toasted caramel flan

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups whole milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place a kitchen towel on a work surface and set a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate on towel to protect from the heat. Place sugar in a medium heavy stainless steel saucepan. Cook over medium until sugar becomes fragrant and begins to melt around edges of pan, about 6 minutes. Gently swirl pan to incorporate melted sugar. Continue swirling pan until all of the sugar is completely melted and has darkened to the color of dark brown sugar, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour melted sugar into prepared pie plate, coating the bottom evenly. Let stand until cool, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, fill a large, deep roasting pan with hot water to a depth of about 1 inch (enough so it will not overflow when flan dish is added). Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla bean seeds, and whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture to pie plate.

3. Set pie plate in the roasting pan and carefully place in the oven. Bake until edges are set and center retains a slight wiggle, about 50 minutes. Remove pie plate from water bath. Cool completely on towel, about 2 hours. Run a knife around edge of flan to loosen. When pan is rotated, flan should float in caramel. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; chill at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

5. Set pie plate in a shallow dish of hot water to soften caramel, about 2 minutes. Invert flan onto a large rimmed platter and serve.

Crispy Cod with Miso Vinaigrette

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Who knew that corn, miso, and fish would pair so well together? I use cod in this east-meets-west entree, but you can use halibut too — any firm, flaky white fish will do just fine. I love the crunchy, crispy, creamy melange of textures in this one-dish meal. Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list; this dish may take a while but the technique is straightforward.

Crispy cod with miso vinaigrette

Ingredients:

For the ginger-green onion oil:

2 tablespoons minced green onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chicken stock
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white miso
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water, or as needed

1 pound cod or halibut fillets
Salt
Pepper
3/4 cup panko
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 green onions, trimmed and julienned into thin strips 2 inches long
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Make the seasoned oil: Heat a small skillet over high heat until just hot. Add the vegetable oil and heat just until it begins to smoke. Carefully add the green onion and ginger to the oil. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the olive oil, rice vinegar, chicken stock, mayonnaise, miso, sugar, peanut butter, mustard, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in enough water to attain a syrup-like consistency.

3. Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper. Drizzle enough of the ginger-green onion oil onto the fillets to coat both sides. Pat the bread crumbs onto both sides of the fish.

4. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat until hot. Heat the 1/4 cup vegetable oil and place the fillets in the pan. Cook, turning once, making sure the bread crumbs do not burn, until both sides are golden and the cod is cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. Pour the oil out of the pan.

5. Add the butter to the pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the corn and saute for another 3 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

6. To serve, spoon the vinaigrette onto a serving platter. Make a well in the center of the vinaigrette. Spoon the mushroom and corn mixture onto the well. Set the cod fillets on top. Scatter the green onion strips and sesame seeds over the fillets. Drizzle a small amount of the seasoned oil over the fillets and serve.