Do you like asparagus? Some green vegetables are boring. But not asparagus!
It has a strong and interesting taste. Its carb content is low – 3g net carbs per 100g. Serving it steamed with some butter and salt is enough to make a wonderful side dish.
The perfect time to have asparagus is now, while it is in season.
You can buy asparagus all year round. But the out-of-season versions, flown from half across the world, are just a bland caricature of the real thing.
So let’s do something interesting while it lasts!
Some ingredients are natural playmates for asparagus.
Eggs. Butter. Goat cheese. Strong-tasting Continental ham, like Serrano or Parma Ham.
This recipe combines all these obvious components in a tasty quiche. It would make a great low-carb breakfast or a snack. Maybe even a light dinner (I am thinking sitting out in the garden, with a glass of chilled white wine…)
Traditional quiche recipes include a pastry crust. You can make a very good low-carb crust using almond flour.
However, this is optional. This recipe works just as well without a crust. I have provided both options below.
Low-carb quiche with asparagus, Parma ham and goat cheese
For the crust:
- 1 cup (90g / 3oz) ground almonds
- 2 egg whites (save the yolks to use for the filling)
- 60g (2oz) butter, melted
- 1 tbsp psyllium husks
- 1 small pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 6 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks saved from making the crust
- 100g crumbly semi-soft goat or sheep cheese
- 50g (2-3 slices) Parma ham
- 90 ml (3oz) double cream (this is called heavy cream in USA)
- 30 ml (1oz) full fat milk
- 30g (1oz) grated Parmesan
- 4-5 thin asparagus spears
- Salt, pepper, nutmeg
Make the crust first
- Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5
- Mix dry ingredients together
- Slightly beat egg whites
- Combine dry ingredients with egg whites and melted butter
- Mix it into a sticky dough using your fingers
- Put the dough into a greased loose-base tart tin – I use 23cm (9-inch) wide one
- Press the dough into the tin using your fingers to make up a crust
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until slightly golden
- Take out and cool completely (do not take out of the tin)
If you are not using the crust, go straight to making the filling. Use a pie dish instead of a loose-base tin to avoid spilling. Grease your pie dish thoroughly to ensure the mix doesn’t stick to it.
Make the filling
- Crumble goat cheese and put it into your crust as the first layer
- Tear Parma ham into pieces and put it on top of the cheese
- Break the tough fat ends off the asparagus spears, and arrange the thin bits on top of the ham and cheese
- Beat the eggs with cream and milk
- Carefully pour the eggs and dairy mix into your crust
- Season generously with salt, black pepper and a bit of nutmeg
- Sprinkle with grated Parmesan
- Bake at 160C/Gas Mark 3 for 30-40 minutes, or until fully set and golden
- Serve hot or cold
Notes on choosing ingredients
Asparagus – Get fresh, locally-grown asparagus. (I have recently bought a bunch by mistake that came all the way from Peru! It tasted of nothing at all. I made sure the next one came from West Sussex. It was a wonderful explosion of taste and no comparison to the previous disappointment).
Eggs – Organic, free-range eggs always taste better and are worth the extra couple of pounds in price
Cream – Ideally, use fresh cream and buy it on the day of cooking
Goat cheese – Any semi-soft crumbly cheese would work well – you can use sheep or cow cheese as well
Ham – I used Parma ham, but any smoked ham would work equally well, either Continental or British varieties. You could also try bacon or pancetta instead.
Psyllium husks – I always add a bit of psyllium husks when baking with almond flour. Psyllium husks are almost pure fibre, so they bind moisture and help to improve the texture of low-carb baked goodies. You could also use a synthetic emulsifier such as xanthan gum or guar gum. This step is optional but the texture will be more crumbly if you skip this step.
Do you need more low-carb breakfast recipes?