Tuesday, May 12, 2020

About Onion Skins in your Quiche Crust & Leaf-to-Root Eating Part 1 - Über Zwiebelschalen im Quicheteig & Genuss vom Blatt bis zur Wurzel

As the season for wild garlic draws to an end, I would like to post just one more recipe that calls for some fragrant wild garlic leaves. If you cannot get hold of this seasonal ingredient, young spinach leaves work nicely in this recipe as well.

In these challenging times, it’s nice to remember long-planned projects like realizing an idea that I have carried around in my head and heart for a long time now and that involves cooking with so-called 'veggie kitchen scraps' such as peels, stems etc. - known also as 'The Vegetable Version Of Nose-To-Tail Eating' or 'Leaf-to-Root Eating'.

The different foods that I have cooked up in the past following this motto or philosphy include the following: making pesto from radish greens or from carrot tops, including beet greens in gratins, risottos or frittatas, keeping different veggie scraps and peelings to make vegetable stock, topping pasta with breadcrumbs from yesterday’s bread. The list is long and it keeps growing. But let's approach this food challenge one recipe at a time. Today I will start out by looking at onions and their nutritious skins.

You all know that onion skins not only add quite a bit of flavor to soups, but also give the broth a beautiful natural brown color. Alternatively, you can also dye your hair with onions or create beautiful shades of Easter egg color. If you are an avid gardener you might be using an onion skin fertilizer of sorts to protect and nourish your greens. But did you also realize that onion skins add a nice flavor to all sorts of dishes (other than soup) and a delicious aroma to freshly baked breads and other baked goods. Depending on the intensity of flavor you desire, try replacing 1 to 5% of the flour called for with dried and ground onion skins.

There is no doubt that cooking with onion skins is a fun way to turn an otherwise waste product into a striking ingredient that can give a contemporary look to your food. Add some to your quiche dough to give it a bit of an oniony flavor and intriguing color. So, next time you pick up an onion or two for cooking, remember to keep the onion skins. Wash them well, dry them well and grind them up in your food processor. But note that you will probably not be able to grind up the onions skins completely, but some flecks in the dough are desirable and pretty too. Personally, I love cooking with red onions, so I made the dough with red onion skins but feel free to use whatever onion skins you have on hand.

Wild Garlic Quiche with Onion Skins  in the Crust


For the Shortcrust Pastry
  • 250g spelt flour (you can go with white spelt flour or use a mix of spelt and wheat)
  • fine sea salt
  • 125g butter, unsalted and fridge cold
  • 1 egg (L), organic or free-range
  • 1 tbsp water, cold (you might need a bit more, depending on the consistency of your dough)
  • onion skins from about 2 medium red onions (from organic onions, if possible) washed, dried and ground up (you can use different colored onion skins as well)
For the Filling
  • 50g grated mozzarella (you can substiute any other mild cheese that you have on hand and that is suitable for cooking)
  • 50g Pancetta (you can substiute a mild bacon here)
  • 16 freshly picked wild garlic leaves (you can substitute young spinch leaves)
  • 2 eggs (L), organic or free-range
  • 50g cooking cream
  • some milk
  • freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, freshly grated nutmeg

  1. To make the shortcrust pastry, whisk together the flour and the salt. Cut up the cold butter into small cubes and, using your fingertips, rub together the ingredients just until it looks like coarse oatmeal. Add the egg, water and ground onion skins and make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough. Pat the dough into a disc. Cover with kitchen wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 356°F.
  3. Then on a lightly-floured work surface, roll out the dough to a circle.
  4. Grease the baking pan with some butter and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Then line the pan with the rolled-out dough, dock the dough with the tines of a fork, line with crumbled parchment paper, fill-up with pie weights and pre-bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes at 356°F, then remove the pie weights and the parchment paper and bake again for another 5 minutes at 320°F or until the pastry has a golden color.
  5. While your tart case pre-bakes, you can prep your filling. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, cream, a bit of milk, freshly ground black pepper, salt and some freshly grated nutmeg.
  6. Remove the pastry case from the oven, fsprinkle the grated cheese into the pastry base and let it sit for a moment until it has started melting, then sprinkle the pancetta over the melted cheese. Then distribute the sliced wild garlic leaves evenly over the pancetta. Then pour the filling over the pancetta and wild garlic.
  7. Return the quiche to the oven and finish baking the quiche for about 30 minutes.
  8. Place the baked quiche on a cooling rack, let it rest for a while.
  9. Either enjoy right away or at room temperature.

Bärlauch Quiche mit roten Zwiebelschalen im Teig


Für den Teig
  • 250g Dinkelmehl (Type 630 oder Type 1050)
  • etwas feines Salz
  • 125g Butter, kalt
  • 1 Ei (L), Bio-oder Freiland
  • 1 EL Wasser, kalt
  • ein paar rote Zwiebelschalen, von zirka 2 roten Zwiebeln, gewaschen, getrocknet und gemahlen (Bio-Qualität, wenn möglich)
Für die Füllung
  • 50g geriebener (grob) Mozzarella oder ein anderer milder Käse
  • 50g Pancetta (ersatzweise magerer Speck)
  • 16 frische gepflückte Bärlauch Blätter (ersatzweise Spinat)
  • 2 Eier (L), Bio-oder Freilandhaltung
  • 50g Sahne
  • etwas Milch
  • frisch gemahlener schwarzer Pfeffer, Salz, etwas frisch gemahlene Muskatnuss

  1. Das Dinkelmehl mit der Butter, einer Prise Salz, dem Ei, Wasser und den gemahlenen Zwiebelschalen zu einem glatten Teig verkneten. Diesen in Folie wickeln und zirka 30 Minuten kühl stellen.
  2. Den Backofen auf 180°C Ober-/Unterhitze vorheizen. Die Tarte-Form fetten und mit Backpapier auslegen. 
  3. Den Teig auf einer mit Mehl bestäubten Arbeitsfläche ausrollen und die Form damit auslegen. Überstehenden Teig wegschneiden, mit einer Gabel einstechen, mit Backpapier auskleiden, mit Hülsenfrüchten (oder Keramik Backbohnen) beschweren und im vorgeheizten Ofen bei 180°C zirka 20 bis 25 Min blind backen, dann Backpapier entfernen und bei 160° C zirka 5 Minuten nachbacken.
  4. In der Zwischenzeit für die Füllung die Eier, Sahne und Milch verrühren und mit Salz, frisch gemahlenem Pfeffer und etwas Muskatnuss kräftig würzen.
  5. Den Käse auf dem Teigboden verteilen und kurz an-schmelzen lassen.
  6. Dann 50g Pancetta auf den Käse geben, dann geschnittener Bärlauch, dann die Eiermischung gleichmäßig über den Pancetta/Bärlauch gießen.
  7. Bei 160° C auf der untersten Einschubleiste etwa 30 Minuten fertig backen.
  8. Noch heiß servieren oder abkühlen lassen und lauwarm servieren, gerne auch mit einem saisonalen Pflücksalat.

Make sure to follow me along on this tasty journey. I believe that especially these days, it‘s worth knowing a few recipes that make good use of perfectly healthy and delicious ingredients that you would otherwise end up not using and discarding. Its good to think outside the box these days and venture beyond using onion skins in your soup.

For more Leaf-to-Root Eating inspiration, have a look at my recipes for:
  • Grissini (Italian Breadsticks) with Red Onion Skins (HERE)
  • Red Beet Top & Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta (HERE)


  1. As you know from my recent carrot top pesto post, I am in total agreement with you. Waste nothing! But I never thought of onion skins in any other way than broth. I definitely need to try this - and I must say that your tart is so beautiful! XOX

    1. Dear David, onions skins can be used in many different ways - apart from using it in all my broths, this is my favorite way to use it and they lend a distinct aroma to the crust which we really enjoy. Plus, if I may say so myself, pulverized onions skins look rather good in a quiche crust!
      Liebe Grüße nach Tucson! Passt gut auf euch auf!