Picnic season is upon us... at least if I consult my calendar! At the moment, nothing could be further from my mind than planning anything involving alfresco eating, given that we've had thunderstorms and even hail most days of the week. But as we are getting ready for another food blogger picnic at the Royal Regatta in Henley today, I have been scouring my recipe folders for sophisticated picnic food. I mean, no way can we show up in Henley with carrot sticks and hoummous and a half-eaten bag of tortilla chips! Especially not since Jeanne was even interviewed on the radio after extensive debates over that most delectable spread we put on last year... we're the talk of the Regatta and I wouldn't be surprised to find some regulars stopping to chat to us again!
Quiches have always been a favourite with me for picnics as they transport so well and offer substance without being fiddly to eat. To lighten things up a bit and gie it a more summery feel than your usual leek, onion, bacon and cheese, I opted for smoked haddock paired with purple-sprouting broccoli... it is the end of their season already, but you can substitute regular broccoli and smoked haddock is available all year round anyway, although you could also try salmon, of course. If ever a quiche can be called "light" then this is it - and it is just as lovely served luke-warm on a picnic blanket as it is straight from the oven...
Smoked haddock & purple-sprouting broccoli quiche
(serves 6 as a light lunch)
200 g shortcrust pastry (ready-rolled)
100 ml single cream
100 ml milk
200 g smoked (undyed) haddock
200 g purple-sprouting broccoli
40 g parmesan
Line a 22 cm loose-bottomed flan tin with the shortcrust pastry (the fat content makes buttering the mould redundant). Bline-bake in the pre-heated oven at 200 C for 10 minutes, then set aside.
Place the smoked haddock in a non-stick pot with the milk and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the haddock is soft and flaky. Reserve the milk and discard the skin. Flake the fish.
Blanch the broccoli in a pot with boiling salt water for about 5 minutes, immediately refresh in a bowl of ice water, drain and set aside.
Beat the eggs with the milk and the single cream, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir in the parmesan. Add the haddock.
Arrange the broccoli in the pastry case, then pour over the cream with the fish and place in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 200 C. Make sure to check that the mixture has completely set (a metal skewer should come out clean), otherwise continue cooking until it has.
Leave to cool slightly before serving with some salad on the side.