Friday, January 27, 2017

Basic Frittata

This is a quiche for the lazy person who doesn't want to make a crust.  It's the same concept, just baked in a pan until it can stand on its own without over baking into something rubbery.  And it's fast; even with chopping some of the ingredients, it's half an hour from start to table.

Bon Appetit did a piece on common frittata mistakes.  What they missed was how easy it is to misspell the word.  Two Ts, then one.  That's what spell-check and auto-correct are for.  And it's pronounced free-Ta-ta, not fritta or Frih-tuh-tuh.

Aside from that, it's baked scrambled eggs with a bunch of stuff in it.  Very similar to an omelet, you're looking for a more firm texture, so there's less dairy here.  The general rule is one tablespoon milk per egg, and two eggs per person if this is the main dish.

It's also a quick dinner that you can make scrounging through your leftovers.  What I'm giving here is a guideline, but feel free to change absolutely every filling ingredient.  Most of the ingredients are either left over from the Mexican Pizza or taken from the garden.   The end result was an Italian feel.  And yes, I had it for dinner.  This works any time of the day.

As the BA article points out, you need to put the other ingredients in it already cooked, especially if they're going to give off a lot of moisture.  As with a quiche, they aren't really going to cook any more than when they go in the oven.  That can be a pretty cool thing when you have almost-raw tomatoes in a cooked frittata.  Since I was putting what may be Eggy's last eggplant in it (kind of how this dish got started), I had to cook it first.  I diced the tomatoes early in the day so they could give off their water naturally into the container, then patted them in paper towels before stirring them into the mix.  For the arugula, I just chopped it and put it in fresh.  It didn't give off excess water when I did this in the chickpea pancake, so I knew I could get away with it.  Store-bought greens may behave differently.

This ended up being yet another accidentally gluten-free dish, so I had it with a slice of bread.  I'm back to baking a couple of times a week, and my metabolism is speeding up.  I do prefer it to closing shifts.  I never really adjusted to Pacific Time and kept waking up super early.  That just made me cranky by the end of the day.  So much happier working mornings.

8 eggs
*1/2 C milk
1/4 C olive oil, divided
*1/2 C diced onion
*1 garlic clove, minced
*3 C chopped arugula
*1 C roasted eggplant
*2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
*1 Tb chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
*1/2 C mascarpone cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350º.  In an oven-proof 10" skillet, sauté onion in 2 Tb oil until tender.  Add garlic at the end for one minute, until fragrant.  Keep pan warm on low.

2.  While onion is cooking, beat together eggs and milk in a medium bowl, just until combined.  You don't want to beat the eggs fluffy.  Over-beating will make the frittata rise in the oven, then collapse into a dense egg jerky that doesn't hold well.  It's ok to have streaks of egg white.
3.  Stir rest of vegetables into egg batter.  Add basil, salt, and pepper.  Between the arugula and eggplant, you're probably going to need a little more salt than I normally use, to counteract any bitterness.

4.  Turn the skillet heat back up to medium and add other 2 Tb of oil to the pan.  When sizzling, pour egg batter into skillet.  Cook for about 3 minutes, to firm up the bottom, then add the mascarpone in small dollops so every serving is guaranteed to have some.  It will spread out a bit in the oven.
5.  Bake frittata until well set, about 15-20 minutes.  If it's still gooey on top, you can either leave it in the oven a bit longer or switch to broiler setting for a minute or two to crisp it up.  This is a good effect if you use a cheese that browns, like mozzarella.  Allow to sit a couple of minutes before gently edging it out of the pan and cutting it into wedges to serve.  Frittatas can be served at any temperature, garnished or not.  Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for one day.

Difficulty rating  π

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