Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Baker's Corner: Mixed Vegetable Frittata

I had been to Jason's - The Gourmet Grocer at Ion Orchard recently. I love going to speciality grocery stores to ogle at what they have to offer (especially in the fruit and veg section). The produce is so vibrant, diverse and irresistible that it makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. I got myself a shopping basket and started picking things off the racks. By the end of my shopping, I had some baby portobello mushrooms, asparagus spears, zucchini, avocados, fresh Italian salad leaves, a gigantic juicy peach & some organic blueberries among other things. The urge to get back home and prepare a healthy veggie-packed brunch was overwhelming. As luck would have it, my hubby had just got me a fabulous 10-inch copper-bottomed anodized skillet that was begging to be put to use. I decided to make a frittata so I could incorporate most of the colourful vegetables I had gotten as well as give my new skillet a chance to make its debut.

A frittata is an Italian egg-based dish which can be likened to a fancy or decked-up omelette. It is simple, quick, delicious and healthy. This dish is perfect for a weekend brunch or a quick weeknight dinner. Moreover, it serves as the ideal vehicle for whatever left-overs languishing in the fridge or to use up any vegetables that are about to cross the threshold into the 'questionable' category. Although it seems too much work to make a frittata with freshly cooked vegetables, I made an exception only because I wanted to use my skillet so bad.

There no 'set in stone' way to make a frittata although there are some pointers that you can keep in mind so that you don't end up with a dry and/or bland dish. 
  • Cook the ingredients that go into the frittata completely and make sure there is no moisture in the mixture
  • Season both the vegetable mixture and the egg mixture. You can use salt, pepper, red chilli flakes, dried herbs and such 
  • Use full-fat dairy. Whole milk works well but you could also use sour cream, crème fraîche or yoghurt. For 6 eggs, you can aim for a quarter of a cup of dairy (I have used more in the recipe)
  • Layer the vegetables in the skillet and then spread the egg mixture evenly over the top
  • Cook the frittata in the skillet for 5 min and then transfer to a pre-heated oven until the frittata is cooked through. Do not over-bake a frittata (I probably went a little over but I don't mind the slight browning)
  • Cool for at least 5 mins before slicing the frittata into wedges

I must confess that I didn't heed every bit of my own advice. Once the frittata was out of the oven, I was in such a hurry to get done with the photography aspect (because like always, I had a million other things to tend to!) that I didn't wait even for a second. As a result, I didn't get the perfect wedge - you can see the tip of the triangle is a bit damaged. After I was done photographing (which took about 10 mins), I set the dinner table and cut wedges for me and my husband to tuck into and they were perfect. Darn! No wonder they say patience is a virtue! 

If the frittata by itself isn't enough, you could serve it with a simple garden salad, potato wedges or garlic bread. Since I had some avocados which were perfectly ripe, I put together a simple garden salad comprising of salad leaves tossed with chopped avocados & tomatoes, walnuts, parmesan shavings and a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, hot sauce and salt.

If you have leftover frittata, you can warm them up and use them to make a scrumptious wrap for brunch the next day. I had some whole wheat tortillas at home so I spread some mayo mixed with hot sauce over the surface and layered chopped up frittata with salad leaves and chunks of avocado and tomatoes. It was super yum! I could do with such a meal every day  

This is my way of making a frittata. The combination of ingredients worked well together ending up in a frittata bursting with robust flavours. Refer the notes for more variations that you can consider.

What ingredients do you like to throw into your frittata? Leave a comment to let me know!

Mixed Vegetable Frittata

Preparation time: 15 min 
Baking time: 20-30 min
Total time: ~45 min
Recipe Level: Easy
Makes: One 10-inch frittata
Serves: 3

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup asparagus, woody stems removed and chopped into 1-inch spears
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup bell peppers (of any color), sliced
1/2 cup mushrooms (any variety), chopped
1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
6 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp red chilli flakes, divided
1 tsp Italian herbs, divided
Salt & black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F/170 deg C. In a oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil. Add in the onions and garlic. Fry on medium-high heat until the onions turn translucent


2. Add in the asparagus spears and zucchini. Fry for 3 min


3. Add the bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, salt, half of the red chilli flakes & half of the Italian herbs. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat


4. In a large bowl, whisk 6 eggs with half a cup of whole milk until it comes together. Season with salt, black pepper and the rest of the red chilli flakes and Italian herbs. Whisk in grated cheddar cheese


5. Using the spatula make sure the veggies are uniformly distributed in the skillet. Gently pour the egg mixture over it


6. Cook for 5 min in the skillet on medium heat until the sides start to get cooked


7. Transfer carefully to the preheated oven and bake for 20-30 min until cooked through. When the frittata is just about done, you can start to make your salad 


8. Let cool for 5 mins. Slice into wedges and serve with a dash of hot sauce and a side salad


Notes:
  • You could use other ingredients in the frittata like baby spinach, kale, scallions, corn kernels, heirloom tomatoes, broccolini, potatoes, leeks and so on. If you have leftover veggies or pasta, you could directly layer it and cover it with the egg mixture. As long as the ingredients are cooked, you are good to go. 
  • Instead of cheddar cheese, you could use other melty cheeses such as fontina or gruyère or else  if you are looking for pockets of gooeyness, you could opt for fresh mozzarella, ricotta, feta or goat's cheese
  • Keep in mind that after baking in the oven, the handle of the skillet will be very hot. Handle with caution!

Cheers,


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