Posted by: njbrown | June 17, 2012

Picnic in the Country – Part 1: Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese and Artichoke Quiche


Picnic in the Country – Part 1:

Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese and Artichoke Quiche

A week ago, my daughter and I had a “girls’ day” that began in the tiny town of Jordan, Ontario. Jordan is in the heart of Niagara wine country, and the home of the wonderful Inn on the Twenty, and On the Twenty, the Inn’s highly-rated restaurant. While my daughter was having a massage at the Inn’s spa, I walked the few blocks of the historic part of town. Charming cottages line the street, many with white picket fences and roses of almost every type – rambling, climbing, hybrid teas, Old Garden, etc. One lovely part of being retired was that I could, literally, stop and smell the roses. Returning on the other side of the street, I walked into the park behind the Jordan Historical Museum and discovered a hidden gem. Jordan was the first Mennonite settlement in Canada, with eighteen families coming from Pennsylvania in the 1780s in search of good inexpensive land and a promise from Lord Simcoe that they would be exempt from military service. A replica of the Conestoga wagons that brought them is in the park, as well as the home of the Fry family built in 1800. From the park, you can walk trail that connects with the Bruce Trail through the Carolinian forest.Once home, I told my husband, George, how delightful our visit had been, and I suggested we take a picnic there on the next nice day. I can’t remember how many years it has been since we had a picnic, and only once before did I do a gourmet picnic. When we first moved to Canada, I admired the English-style fitted picnic hampers sold at Birk’s – the Canadian equivalent of Tiffany’s. The price seemed exorbitant, and I couldn’t justify the expense. But about fifteen years ago, on a shopping trip to Buffalo, I saw a similar hamper for less than a hundred dollars at Brookstone. That was a price I couldn’t pass up, and we brought one home. However, after our first tailgate effort, the hamper had sat unused in the basement. Finally, we had a chance to use the hamper and indulge in a beautiful picnic with an elegant menu.

Thursday turned out to be perfect weather. In preparation for our picnic, I had been looking for really good, portable food. Finecooking.com yielded two recipes that were very appealing: Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese and Artichoke Quiche, and Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon-Cream Filling. Since this post is already long, I will do the Blueberry Bars as a second post.

As can be seen below in the recipe, the quiche is done in a “rustic” manner. I am not into rustic, but decided to give it a try. The recipe takes a number of steps – making the dough, resting the dough, rolling the dough, freezing the dough in the spring-form pan, blind-baking the dough, and then baking the filling in two stages. However, the resulting quiche is incredibly good. All of the flavors blend together in a wonderfully harmonious way. I had thought I’d be happy if I never ate quiche again after the initial quiche craze, but this has changed my mind. George rhapsodized over it while he ate ¾ of it (I had ¼), and has been rhapsodizing since – and he doesn’t rhapsodize easily. Because there are only two of us, I made half the filling recipe and baked it in a 6-inch spring-form pan. I had extra dough, but froze it for another use.

With the quiche, we had a salad of organic field greens, lightly dressed with the simplest of red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette. Rather than taking the salad in a bowl, I put the greens in a small baggie. Once there, I poured a little of the dressing into the bag, sealed it, and shook very briefly – less weight to carry, and easy clean-up.

Cave Spring Cellars winery is located in Jordan. When my daughter and I had lunch at On the Twenty, the server suggested a 2009 Cave Spring Cellars Riesling, which we found very enjoyable. On our way to the park, George and I bought a chilled bottle at the winery. George pronounced it a perfect accompaniment to the meal.

You may not want to make this a picnic recipe, but whenever you have it, I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese, and Artichoke Quiche
By Martha Stamp
From Finecooking.com

Serves eight.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4-6 Tbs. ice water

For the filling:

  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup)
  • 24 frozen artichoke heart quarters, thawed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 6 oz. hot-smoked salmon, skin removed and roughly broken into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 4 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)

Directions:

Make the crust:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, and salt on low speed.
  2. Add the butter and mix until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
    [Note:  This can be done in your food processor.  Julia says to pulse the butter and flour 5 or 6 times, then with the processor running, add the ice water all at once, then pulse another 2 or 3 times.  She says not to let the dough form a ball; it should be a rough mixture with pea-size pieces of butter.]
  3. With the mixer still on low, add the ice water 1 Tbs. at a time until the dough just begins to come together— you may not need all the water.
    Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic and shape it into a disk. Wrap in the plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15-inch circle about ¼ inch thick.
  5. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press the dough into the bottom and up the sides, pressing any pleats flat against the sides. With scissors, unevenly snip any dough that overhangs the rim, to make a jagged edge. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  6. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Line the frozen crust with two overlapping sheets of parchment and fill two-thirds of the way with dried beans.
  8. Bake until the sides are set, about 25 minutes.
  9. Remove the beans and parchment and bake until the crust just begins to brown lightly, another 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack. Meanwhile, raise the oven temperature to 400°F.

Make the filling:

  1. Melt the butter in a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and turning translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the artichoke hearts and cook until softened and slightly browned, another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with the cream, milk, 1 tsp. of the dill, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and the nutmeg.
  5. Put the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour about half of the egg mixture into the crust.
  6. Bake in the oven until the filling is partially set (it will still be slightly runny), about 20 minutes.
  7. Scatter half of the onion and artichoke mixture over the partially set egg mixture.
  8. Distribute half of the salmon and goat cheese on top.
  9. Pour on the remaining egg mixture and then scatter the remaining onions, artichokes, salmon, and goat cheese over the egg. Sprinkle the remaining dill over the top.
  10. Bake until the center is just set (use a paring knife to peek), another 40 to 50 minutes. Check about halfway through baking; if the crust seems to be browning too fast, shield it with strips of foil.
  11. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
  12. To unmold, remove the springform ring and loosen the quiche from the pan’s bottom by running a thin-bladed knife between the two. Slide the quiche off its base onto a serving plate.
  13. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut in wedges.

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake the crust up to a day ahead and the quiche up to 2 hours ahead.

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Responses

  1. Since then, I have become a great fan of picnics, getting addicted to those quintessentially British traditions like the Royal Regatta at Henley, a proper Polo Match at Ham, the great picnic concerts etc and to be honest, ever since we moved and enjoy a beautiful garden, the kids ask to have a picnic under the apple trees at least once a week. It goes without saying that in all this time, I have tried various picnic foods, from quiches to finger food , muffuletta , pastrami bagels and Jaegerwecken . Various times I have tried to take along salads, like melon & prosciutto or peach, spinach & blue cheese , but nothing transports quite as well as my version of the Waldorf salad and this recipe here: my Mum’s (even though she insists she only ever made it once and I heavily adapted it) pasta salad with ham, cheese and apples. It sounds like a weird combination at first and I don’t know if nostalgia is confusing my palate, but I love this salad, not only because it tastes even better if you prepare it the night before… and god knows how I love to sleep in!

  2. Since then, I have become a great fan of picnics, getting addicted to those quintessentially British traditions like the Royal Regatta at Henley, a proper Polo Match at Ham, the great picnic concerts etc and to be honest, ever since we moved and enjoy a beautiful garden, the kids ask to have a picnic under the apple trees at least once a week. It goes without saying that in all this time, I have tried various picnic foods, from quiches to finger food , muffuletta , pastrami bagels and Jaegerwecken . Various times I have tried to take along salads, like melon & prosciutto or peach, spinach & blue cheese , but nothing transports quite as well as my version of the Waldorf salad and this recipe here: my Mum’s (even though she insists she only ever made it once and I heavily adapted it) pasta salad with ham, cheese and apples. It sounds like a weird combination at first and I don’t know if nostalgia is confusing my palate, but I love this salad, not only because it tastes even better if you prepare it the night before… and god knows how I love to sleep in!

  3. This sounds wonderful! I love Quiche, I never had this type, though. What a great idea to take this on a picnic, my boyfriend and I haven’t done this for quite a while. I think I will surprise him! Great info as usual!

    • I hope you have a lovely time!


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