T.S. Eliot was right: April is the cruelest month. But he probably wasn’t thinking about what happens when we pull out our spring clothes and discover just how much weight we put on over the winter.
Luckily, we have plenty of fresh foods to tempt us to eat healthfully. By Easter, asparagus is crowding into markets and chickens are filling their nests with eggs just in time for spring brunches.
Quiche looks so light and tempting – if you skip all that cream and cheese. To make a quiche that’s lower in fat, there’s an easy substitution for the cream and fat: Part-skim ricotta cheese. Whisked with eggs, it gives you a creamy base to hold fresh asparagus and a little salmon that a third of the calories of a full-fat quiche.
Eggs can be high in cholesterol, but they have plenty of good things to balance that: An egg only has 77 calories and it gives us a big dose of protein, along with a lot of iron, vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5, and all of the essential amino acids.
Dietitians help us make good decisions.
Slimmed-down spring quiche
- 1 9-inch pie crust (refrigerated pie crust is fine)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup nonfat milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 10-12 thick stalks of asparagus
- 1/4 cup diced smoked salmon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, unroll the pie crust and roll lightly to make it a little thinner and even out the edges. Place in a 9-inch pie dish. Prick the bottom all over with a fork.
Place a sheet of parchment paper in the crust and fill with dried beans or pie weights, using enough to come up the sides and keep the crust from shrinking. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lift out the parchment paper and weights, then return the crust to the oven for about five minutes to brown lightly.
Remove the crust from the oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta, milk, salt and dry mustard. Whisk until smooth.
Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and cut at an angle into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside the delicate tips. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of asparagus pieces.
Place the asparagus pieces and the smoked salmon into the pie crust, then pour in the egg mixture. (Use a rubber spatula if necessary to make sure the asparagus is distributed evenly.) Arrange the tips in a decorative pattern on top.
Place the quiche in the oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s set around the edges and just a little jiggly in the middle. Remove from oven and cool.
Serve at room temperature or chill before serving.
Yield: 8 servings. Per serving: 115 calories; 7.2g fat (3.5g saturated fat); 87.3mg cholesterol; 271mg sodium; 4.1g carbohydrates; 28g protein.