Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Leek Mini-Quiches

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  12 servings (24 mini-quiches total)
Prep Time:  15 minutes Chilling Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  40 minutes

Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Leek Mini-Quiches

Got leftover smoked salmon hanging around in your fridge? With the addition of a little goat cheese and some leeks, leftovers are transformed into the centerpiece of an elegant meal.

Ingredients

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 package (15-ounces) pie dough, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight, Immaculate All-Natural strongly preferred

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup (½ stick) salted butter, preferably cultured

6 leeks, green tops and root ends removed, washed well (see Kitchen Tips)

1¼ cups crème fraîche

¾ cup crumbled mild goat cheese

3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves (about 3 fat sprigs)

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves, tough stems discarded (about 8 sprigs)

¼ cup seeded, finely diced yellow, orange or red bell peppers

½ cup pitted, diced pitted green Castelnuovo olives or Greek olives, or a mixture of both

10 eggs, lightly beaten

4 ounces smoked salmon, preferably Nova, cut into julienne strips

Instructions

  1. Spray 2 (12-cup) muffin tins with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Roll or pat the defrosted dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into 24 circles, 5 inches in diameter. Place them into the prepared  muffin tin, gently pushing them into the bottoms and up the sides. Refrigerate for 25 to 30 minutes while you make the filling.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over high heat and add the oil, cooking until the oil shimmers. Add the butter and as soon as it foams, add the leeks, stir well and cook until they are just softened. Reduce the heat to a low, stir, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are completely soft and tender.
  3. While the leeks cook, preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the crème fraîche, goat cheese, dill, oregano, thyme, peppers, olives, and eggs and stir until fully blended. Add the nova and stir well. Add the leeks and stir well.
  4. Remove the muffins tin(s) and fill each to the top with filling mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until the centers are set and just a bit jiggly but not runny; they will continue to cook while they cools.

Kitchen Tips

  1. If you haven’t cooked with leeks before, you need to know a few things: they’re delicious, but they absorb an amazing amount of soil as they grow, so you’ll need to wash them extremely well. First, trim off the tough outer leaves. Then, place the leek on a work surface, hold it by the root end and, with a sharp knife, slice lengthwise, starting about an inch from the root and working your way down the leaves (keeping the root end intact for the moment). Roll the leek over about half a turn, and slice again, so that the once tightly wound leaves hang in big strands from the root end. Wash well under running water, making sure to get in between each strand. When you are satisfied that all the dirt is removed, you can cut off the root end, trim any remaining tough green leaves and soak, slice or chop as the recipe requires.
  2. These mini-quiches can be placed in containers, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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