Frittata for a healthy lunch

28th June, 2010 - Posted by admin - Comments Off

Frittata with vegetables and ham

This time of year the vegetables are coming fast and furious and they are all delicious. The problem is that are only so many salads a person can eat before vinaigrette fatigue sets in. So what is another way to prepare lots of vegetables that is quick and doesn’t heat up the whole house?

Enter the frittata.

Frittatas are something between a quiche and an omelette. Eggs in a pan with a bunch of tasty things, then popped into the oven until set. Slice like a pie and serve hot or cold.

There are a couple tricks to producing a good frittata at home. The first is that all the fillings need to be cut small and possibly cooked prior to being added to the egg. Eggs set fast, so there’s not enough time to cook anything inside the filling. The second point is to start the eggs on the stove top, then put them under the broiler. This has the advantage of both shortening the time spent in the oven and insuring that the eggs don’t turn rubbery.

The other advantages to frittatas is that they are an easy one dish meal to serve to a small group and they don’t require any special skills to make. Toss eggs and stuff in a pan, pop into oven, done.

So what to put in the frittata? Sky’s the limit. In French and Italian cuisine – where frittatas originated – herbs and cheese are required. Smoked meat like ham and bacon are typically used, along with vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, onions, asparagus and whatever looks good at the farmers market.

Plan for about three cups of filling and 12 eggs for a thick frittata in a 12-inch skillet, less if the final product is intended to be a thinner.

Use an oven-safe skillet – this is not a dish to transfer halfway through – and saute anything that needs it. Add the rest of the fillings to the pan and pour the beaten egg mixture over it. Scrape the bottom of the pan so big curds form. When everything is mixed, but the eggs are still fairly wet, transfer the pan to the oven and finish under a hot broiler. The eggs will set quickly, two to three minutes.

Pull the pan out and let sit for an additional five minutes. Keep in mind that the handle of the skillet will be the same temperature as the broiler and hot metal and cold metal look a lot alike.

Once the frittata has set in the middle, it can either be turned out onto a cutting board and sliced into wedges or served from the pan. Frittatas freeze very well, so this is a good dish to slice up and save for later.

Bon appetit and enjoy your greens!

Makes 1 12-inch frittata

6 eggs for a thin frittata, 12 for a thick one, beaten
3 tablespoons half and half
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon butter

Three cups total of any of the following:
chopped blanched asparagus
chopped bell pepper
chopped country ham or bacon
wilted spinach
chopped bell pepper
chopped leeks
chopped broccoli
diced cooked potato
diced onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves

Adjust top oven rack – with a skillet (ovenproof!) on it, you want the top of the skillet to be 4-6 inches from the broiler. Turn on broiler.

Put skillet (preferably 12″ nonstick) on stove and add about a tablespoon of oil. Add any raw vegetables or meat you want in your frittata and saute them until done, adding any herbs, spices, and salt you desire.

Add any cooked ingredients and heat them through.

Whisk eggs (12 eggs for a thick frittata in a 12″ skillet, fewer eggs for a thinner frittata or in a smaller skillet) with salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons half and half .

On medium heat, cook eggs for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with heat-resistant spatula. When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring. You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.

Continue cooking on stove for another minute so underside sets.

Sprinkle the cheese on top. Put skillet under broiler. Watch carefully while top browns. This will take 2-4 minutes

Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.

Cut in wedges and serve.

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Posted on: June 28, 2010

Filed under: Breakfast, Dinner, Vegetarian

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