Thursday, June 12, 2008

Frittata - the Fail Safe Plan for Dinner

So one night last week I had no plan for dinner - I had defrosted nothing and was really not interested in cooking. But as usual I talked myself into cooking because with all the food we have in the fridge it would be ridiculous not to.

The always fail-safe meal; frittata, an Italian omelet. Here is where having a steady supply of eggs, cheese, milk and various vegetables comes in handy. I scrounged in the freezer for sausage (I try to keep a stash of chicken apple sausage or breakfast links handy) and found some. I defrosted them by heating two of them in a skillet with a bit of water and proceeded to review my options in the fridge. The beauty of a frittata is that you can use whatever vegetables you have handy; mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, etc. The choice for this one would be some scallions, crimini mushrooms and zucchini.

Crack six eggs in a bowl; add about two tablespoons of milk, and a scant quarter cup of cheese (usually I use the Parmesan/reggiano mix but in this case I am out and only have a four cheese shredded mix). I slice the green part of a scallion and add to the bowl of eggs with a bit of salt and pepper and briskly whisk the whole thing. I then set this aside. I turn on my oven to broil so that is warm when I am ready to put the frittata in for the final browning.

Then I wash about 5-6 crimini mushrooms and one zucchini; I slice the mushrooms and cut the zucchini into mouth sized bites. I heat the omelet pan with a bit of olive oil. When the oil is to the point of smoking, I drop in the mushrooms and zucchini and saute it until it gets soft with a bit of browning on some surfaces. When it looks perfectly cooked to eat, I take it off the heat and add the browned mushrooms and zucchini to the egg mixture and mix it all. I take the pan I just used to cook the vegetables and add a tablespoon of olive oil and a bit over a tablespoon of butter. (Traditional recipes call for almost half a stick of butter but I think this is a bit excessive).

I return the pan to the burner but this time the heat is set low. When the butter is melted I add the egg mixture and with a spatula, I pull the cooked edges into the center of the pan. This is the technique used for omelet making, you do not want to scramble the mixture you just want to pull the cooked edges toward the center and let the uncooked egg drain to the edge. You repeat this process until most of your egg is firm and there is a bit of runniness on top. You then pop the pan under the broiler and let the top cook for just a few minutes. (Usually the time it takes you to add a sausage to each plate and tell everyone dinner is ready.)

This recipe makes four good sized slices. We served ours with sausage, toasted raisin bread and orange juice.

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

I love to make Frittata. They're alway different, and alway delicious.
I tend to just preheat the pan I'm going to cook it in, in the oven. Then I put the mixture in the pan and bake it. It's another way to make this if you don't want to watch it closely.
Frittatas are also great served room temperature, which makes them perfect for an antipasto, brunch, or lunch dish

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