Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Frittata Madness

Frittata is a delectable addition to any cook's repertoire. It is best described as a crustless quiche. Frittatas are easy and quick to make (under an hour), a terrific way to utilize leftovers, can be made sumptuously decadent, or on the healthier side (both will be the talk of the meal!) is best either hot or room temp and you can serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Now, what other food can you say all those things about?
First, you are going to need a oven-proof, non-stick pan. If you are like me and want to live dangerously you can use a well seasoned cast iron skillet. (I am not what you would call a "risk taker" so the idea of my frittata sticking to my pan is totally living dangerously for me!) For a four serving frittata I use my 8-inch cast iron, with about 10 eggs and 1/2 -3/4 cup of heavy cream. Here is how to figure out how much egg mixture you will need: fill your pan about 3/4 of the way up with water. Next pour that water into a measuring cup and ta da! You will need that much! As far as the cream is concerned, it will depend on the size of your pan. Add enough so that the egg mix is a pale yellow, less if you are trying to keep it healthier, or more for utter richness! Now is the fun part: planning the yummy fillings. I usually like to have a protein (i.e. ham or bacon), veggies (potatoes, onions, spinach, etc.), cheese (feta, Jack, Gruyere) and some colorful garnish (green onions, sun dried tomatoes, cilantro). This is a great time to have that book I mentioned a few days ago (Culinary Artistry) to help you make perfect flavor combos. (For example if you have leftover sauteed zucchini, basil and goat cheese would make a phenomenal flavor match!) Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Heat your pan over medium, once hot, spray with Pam (I like to use spray oil because it makes it easier to oil the sides of the pan!) Pour in your egg mixture, put in all the fiillings, reserving the garnishes and cheese for the top (or not, do it how you think it will be best). Place frittata in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, with pot holder in hand, shake the pan. The frittata is done when the eggs are set and there is just a slight wiggle in the center. At this time I like to remove my frittata because it will continue to cook (what we in the biz say, "cross over cook"). If you are squemish about jigglely eggs, feel free to cook it longer. But don't cook too long or your frittata will be dry and in some cases start to turn green (think of the yolk of an overcooked hard boiled egg, yuck) Once your frittata is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. As your frittata cools the sides will pull away from the pan therefore making it easier to remove. When time to remove, shake your pan back and forth and it should slide out easily. If not, use a rubber spatula to help with any stubborn spots. Slice and enjoy. Serve with crusty bread and a salad!
Trying to watch your waistline? Substitute milk for the cream, Canadian bacon for real bacon, use low fat cheese and lots of veggies! Have fun with this recipe as there are no limits to what you can create.

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