You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~Smoked Ham and Asparagus in a Béarnaise Quiche~

IMG_1420Every once in a while (not often, but it does happen) you'll come across a recipe that goes from ordinary to extraordinary by using a store-bought, instead of a scratch-made, dry sauce or seasoning packet.  This is one such recipe.  While it is next-to-impossible to make a quiche using scratch-made hollandaise or béarnaise sauce (in place of the typical whisked cream and egg mixture used to prepare a quiche), because either will breakdown in a hearts-beat or three, it is possible to add a dry, high-quality, store-bought, hollandaise or or béarnaise sauce-mix to season and enrich the cream and egg mixture.  In fact, it propels the end product into the stratosphere.

6a0120a8551282970b0162fd6207eb970dIn the latter 1970's and into the 1980's, quiche became very trendy and I for one was on the bandwagon. The quiche tsunami occurred in 1982 when a man by the name of Bruce Feirstein wrote the bestseller Real Men Don't Eat Quiche.  As you can see, I still have my copy.  It coined the phrases "quiche-eater" and "real man" and separated them into two groups.  There was a third category too: "Guys who think they're real men but really aren't".   A "real man" might enjoy a bacon-and-egg pie if his wife made it for him, while a "sensitive guy" would make it himself and clean up afterwards.  The book is hilarious.  It was written after a decade of feminist critiques ("The Women's Movement") on traditional male roles and beliefs.  I for one had a lot of fun during 1982-1983 as serving quiche spawned spirited conversation each and every time.

Quiche (keesh):  A pastry crust filled w/a savory custard consisting of eggs, cream, herbs & seasonings, plus, cheese, & meat, seafood &/or vegetables.

IMG_1450Quiche originated in northeastern France, in the region of Alsace-Lorraine. The most notable of these savory pies is their famous Quiche-Lorraine, which has crisp bacon bits and grated Gruyère cheese added to the custard filling.  In my opinion, no self-respecting cook should be without at least one quiche recipe tucked in their apron pocket.  I find my quiche recipes to be particularly valuable over holiday weekends, or whenever I have overnight guests (creamy, crustless crabmeat quiche and succulent shiitake mushroom and gruyère cheese quiche are two of my family's favorites). Quiche is an easy way to feed a group of people breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner without dragging out every pot and pan in the kitchen.  Because it's great served at any temperature, whenever guests meander to the table, all you have to worry about is putting it on their plate.  Besides all of the above, quiche is a meal that just plain makes people happy.  

Julia Child is credited w/introducing quiche to the US in the 1960's.

IMG_1436Hollandaise Sauce + Shallots + Tarragon = Béarnaise Sauce.  

Béarnaise is a French sauce made of butter emulsified in egg yolks and white wine vinegar.  It is considered to be a "child" of of the mother hollandaise sauce (one of the five mother sauces in French cuisine).  The difference is only in the flavorings with béarnaise using shallot, peppercorns and tarragon, and hollandaise being stripped down (plainer), using lemon juice and white wine.

IMG_13871  basic pie or quiche pastry (pâte brisée), preferably homemade, rolled out, placed in a 9" quiche dish, then decoratively edged 

1  pound, 1/4" diced, baked, smoked ham, the best available (Note:  The ham in this photo is not deli-meat, it is baked ham leftover from our Easter feast.)

4  ounces finely-diced shallots or sweet onion

8  ounces shredded Gruyère cheese

2  tablespoons Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour for Sauce and Gravy

3  jumbo eggs

1  cup heavy or whipping cream

1/2  cup mayonnaise

2  .9-ounce packets Knorr Béarnaise Sauce Mix, 1 packet for the ham filling mixture and 1 packet for the egg mixture

36  4"-long, pencil-thin, fresh asparagus spears, blanched as directed below

IMG_1402~ Step 1.  Blanching the asparagus before it goes atop the quiche and into the oven will keep it moist and tender.  In a 2-quart saucepan, bring about two inches of water to a rolling boil with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Add the trimmed asparagus.  Adjust heat to simmer, 45-60 seconds. Rinse under cold water to halt the cooking process, drain thoroughly, then place atop a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.

IMG_1392 IMG_1392 IMG_1392 IMG_1406~Step 2.  In a large bowl, using a large rubber spatula, toss together the ham, shallots, cheese, flour and one packet of the béarnaise mix, until ingredients are evenly coated in flour and béarnaise. Transfer the mixture to the pastry in the quiche dish.  Do not pat or press down on the filling -- it should be light and airy with nooks and crannies for the liquid to drizzle down through. Like spokes in a wheel, decoratively trim and arrange the asparagus spears over the top.

IMG_1408 IMG_1408 IMG_1408 IMG_1408~Step 3.  In a 2-cup measuring container, whisk the eggs, cream, mayonnaise, and the second packet of béarnaise.  Slowly, in a thin stream, drizzle the creamy liquid over the surface of the ham mixture.  Go slowly, to give liquid time to drizzle down into the light and airy filling mixture.

IMG_1428~ Step 4.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350° oven for 55-60 minutes. Quiche will be golden brown, puffed through to the center and a knife inserted into the center will come out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool 15-20 minutes, or longer, prior to serving hot, warm or at room temperature.  Leftovers reheat perfectly in the microwave the next day.

Serve quiche hot, warm or at room temperature:

IMG_1438Leftovers reheat perfectly in the microwave the next day:

IMG_1445Smoked Ham and Asparagus in a Béarnaise Quiche:  Recipe yields 1, 9" quiche/8 servings.

Special Equipment List:  9"  quiche dish; cutting board; chef's knife; 2-quart saucepan; paper towels; hand-held box grater; large rubber spatula; 1-quart measuring container; wire cooling rack

6a0120a8551282970b01bb080c3d4d970dCook's Note: The first time I ate "Oscar" was in 1983 and I was in "The Big Easy".  Four of us were in the New Orleans French-Quarter restaurant, Arnoud's, listening to a jazz band and groovin' to the tunes. My meal arrived:  a lightly-pounded, gently-sautéed, succulent, fork-tender veal paillard, piled high with tender Louisiana crayfish, drizzled with buttery béarnaise sauce and garnished with steamed asparagus:  ~ All that Jazz:  Chicken Oscar with Easy Blender Béarnaise ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment