One of my greatest pleasures as a shopper at the East Nashville Farmers Market is preparing a farm-fresh breakfast quiche filled to the brim with seasonal ingredients provided by my local farmers and artisan vendors. Locally-raised meats and pastel-colored eggs, spring root-vegetables and greens, and local cheeses bake together in a flaky crust to form a billowy breakfast pie with all the flavors of spring. And not only does this quiche make a perfectly-rounded breakfast, but when served with a side salad of fresh market lettuces and radishes, it proves just as fulfilling for lunch or dinner, as well.
For my market ingredients, I opted for bunches of fresh Swiss chard and kale from Delvin Farms and orbs of turnips, spring onions, and radishes from Green Door Gourmet. I snagged a container of Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese to give my quiche a creamy cheesiness, plus an added kick of pepper. I grabbed a pound of Laurel Mountain Farms Mild Breakfast Sausage to add a savory heartiness, and a dozen multi-colored fresh eggs from Botanical Harmony Farm to take my quiche a step above the rest.
To begin this farm fresh quiche, locate your favorite homemade pie dough recipe or grab a couple deep-dish store-bought shells, if you like. Once the dough has been assembled, wrapped it in plastic, and chilled in the refrigerator for no less than 30 minutes, place it on the counter and let it warm to almost room temperature before you begin to roll. Next, flour your surface well and roll your dough from center to edges using single strokes to approx. 1/8 inch thickness. I used a deep quiche pan and measured the edges before I trimmed away any excess. Once I formed the dough into my quiche pan, I baked the shell at 400 degrees in the middle rack of my oven for 15 minutes to set and removed to cool.
To begin my filling, I added my Laurel Mountain breakfast sausage to a cast-iron skillet and cooked on medium-high heat until browned. I drained the meat in a colander, making sure to reserve the fat in a bowl below, and set both the skillet and sausage aside.
Next, I diced my turnips, radishes, and spring onions and sautéed them in the same skillet I sautéed my sausage with 1 tablespoon of the fat. I cooked these veggies until my turnips had caramelized and onions had wilted, and placed in a bowl to use later.
For my greens, I diced a hefty amount of both Siberian kale and chard to make a packed, one-cup full of each. I added my chopped greens to a pot of boiling salted water and cooked for no longer than 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Then, I removed my greens from the boiling water with tongs and transferred to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once my greens had cooled, I removed them from the water and squeezed them with my hands to wring-out all the excess water I could, making a baseball-sized package of fresh, blanched greens. I roughly chopped the ball and set aside.
For the filling, I grabbed a large mixing bowl and cracked seven farm eggs into the bottom. I added 1 1/2 cups of milk, two pinches of salt, 5 cranks of ground pepper, and an entire eight-ounce package of Professor Bailey’s pimento cheese, and whisked vigorously. Once my egg mixture was smooth, I added my sautéed root veggies, chopped greens, and 1 cup of my browned breakfast sausage (feel free to add it all, if you like). Once combined, I transferred the filling to my par-baked pie crust, and set in a 350 degree oven for almost 45 minutes until the center was billowy and the crust was golden brown. I removed from the oven and set aside to cool. (Side note: allow quiche to cool for 15 minutes before slicing. If you do not eat meat, you may substitute more vegetables and greens. Also, try going crustless in a well-greased cast-iron skillet for a farm-fresh frittata!)
After my quiche had cooled, I dissected a mile-high slice laden with local, hearty ingredients, and enjoyed it for brunch with a cup of coffee. This recipe also boxes nicely for your next market picnic at the East Nashville Farmers Market. But don’t forget to bring enough for your neighbors on the lawn… Enjoy!
Spring Quiche with Turnips, Greens, and Breakfast Sausage
1 pound Laurel Mountain Farms breakfast sausage
1 1/2 cups diced turnips and radishes
1 cup diced spring onions (whites and greens)
1 cup Swiss chard, tightly-packed
1 cup any kind of kale, tightly-packed cup
7 Botanical Harmony farm eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (any kind you like)
1 8oz container Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper