Vegetarian Nettle and Caramelised Onion Mini Party Quiches


by Dominic Franks from @DomInTheKitchen

With quiches being all the rage again thanks to the Kings Coronation Quiche, I thought I’d turn my hand to developing a party version. These mini quiches are perfect for a gathering of friends and family to celebrate over the Royal bank holiday.  I’m using nettles as they’re in season and abundant everywhere but feel free to swap them out for baby spinach if you’d prefer.

The pastry and the quiche are packed with fresh herbs which add to the wonderful Spring flavours.  I adore the Tealby Freshly Cut Herb Keepers Pot which means I can keep my herbs fresh in the fridge for longer.

Kitchen tools that could be useful: Tealby Freshly Cut Herb Keeper Pot

Acacia Wooden Chopping Board

Prep:  20 mins
Cooking time: 35 - 45 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 6-8

For the cheesy chive pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 120g butter
  • 30g cheddar cheese - finely grated.
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
  • water to mix.

For the filling:

  • 1 red onion – sliced in half lengthways and then thinly sliced.
  • Butter and olive oil
  • fresh rosemary and thyme– finely chopped.
  • salt and pepper
  • 30g cheddar cheese - finely grated.
  • Roughly 12 heads of nettles (see tips below)
  • 2 eggs – beaten.
  • 100ml single cream
  • 50ml sour cream

I’m using a 24 cup, mini pie tray but you could go larger and use a 12 cup, Yorkshire pudding tray.

Step 1: Make the pastry

  • Place the flour and butter into a bowl and rub lightly with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the grated cheese and then add a couple of tablespoons of water and using your hand shaped like a claw, mix until a ball of dough forms.  You may need to add a little more water to get a nice smooth dough that holds together.
  • Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: Caramelise the onions

  • In a warm pan melt a nob of butter and a tablespoon olive oil, then add the onions and sauté gently for roughly 20 mins until they turn golden. Stir them frequently to stop them burning.
  • Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add a little more oil and quickly sauté the nettles until they are just wilted. Their sting will go the moment they are heated through. Set aside.

Step 3: Roll out the pastry.

  • Now your pastry should be ready, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and cut it into small rounds. I use a cookie cutter that is slightly bigger than the holes in the pie tray.  Push the rounds into the pie tray.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 170C (fan.)

Step 4: Make the egg batter

  • In a bowl, beat the eggs into the creams and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a jug with a spout.

Step 5: Build the quiche and bake

  • Place a small amount of caramelised onion into the bottom of each pastry case, followed by a little grated cheese and top with a little nettle.
  • Pour a dash of the creamy egg mix into each case.
  • Bake on 170 °C for about 15 - 20 minutes until golden and risen.
  • Set aside on a wire rack to cool.  The quiches should easily slide out of the tin.

Tip: When picking nettles, it is vital that you wear protecting gardening gloves.  You want to find young, smallish plants and only pick to top 4 leaves. Wash them thoroughly and spin them dry in a salad spinner.  They will keep their sting up until the point you sauté or steam them.

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