This post is a reflection on the fun of fresh fruits and vegetables in the spring, complete with a recipe, or rather a technique, for Frittata.
When Sleeping Beauty was kissed by a handsome prince, she awakened! She came alive! She fell in love! And what had been black and white, suddenly became colour.
It's a universal feeling, this eye opening, pulse racing feeling of rejuvenation. Sleeping Beauty is a metaphor, of course, an archetype. We all know the feeling. We all can whistle the tune. Maybe because there was a time, either recently or in the far distant past, when we were head over heels, ass over teakettle, and couldn't believe that our world, which had previously been so drab and mundane could suddenly have burst into technicolorful bloom!
And we whistle that well-remembered tune every year when the whites and grays of winter transform with the kiss of the sun into multicolored spring, and we fall in love with our little corner of the world all over again. Gardeners begin to bounce and stretch and flex their fingers, polish their tools and plot out flower beds. Robins careen around everywhere like love-struck teenagers, with singleness of purpose, and not a thought for personal safety. Drive carefully. Folks appear in an outlandish combination of shorts, sandals, parkas and toques, mad as March hares eager to rush the season. Love is in the air, as is the wonderful, throaty rumble of the Harley Davidsons rolling down the road.
And there are the cooking folk, packing away their slow cookers and checking their barbecues for uninvited winter residents. They are as love-struck as the intrepid gardeners, and head to the grocery store as ardently as the gardeners head to the garden supply centers. They do find common ground in fiddlehead season, and get up to full-blown collaboration when the gardens yield herbs and veggies down the road. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Spring is a time of the falling part of being in love. It is the time of anticipation, of hoping, and planning and the sky's the limit, buster! It is a time of all flowers and no weeds, and everything's coming up roses!
Shopping baskets in hand, we head out for the signs that spring is in the air. Where better to revel in this technicolorful time of year than in the produce section! The reds are brighter, the greens more verdant. Previously wrinkly peppers now glow with enthusiasm. Leaves, so recently limp and tired are now....well, you get the picture. Certainly travel-weary asparagus has been available through the winter at great cost, but suddenly it shows an exuberance that surely signals spring. The carrots' tufty ferns are now green and inviting. Yup. It's spring somewhere nearby and it's heading our way!
There is a tendency to bash around the store like an infatuated robin, tossing every luscious item into the basket, spurred on by the suddenly lower prices. Actually, it is more a compulsion than a tendency. Which begs the question, "Now what am I going to do with all this stuff stacked high on my counter?"
It is time for spring vegetable soups certainly, and adventurous salads, but let us not forget the handy Frittata. Frittata’s roots stretch into Italy, but it is really pretty universal. Some eggs, some cream, some lovely melty cheese form the basis of a simple concoction that quivers somewhere between omelet and quiche.
You will need a nice, heavy cast iron pan, or a still slippery non-stick that is oven friendly.
How to Make a Frittata (modified from thekitchn.com)
Makes roughly six servings
What You Need
Choose 3-4 of the following:
1 onion, diced
1 potato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1-2 cups broccoli
1-2 cups cauliflower
1-2 leeks, diced
1-2 cups chopped asparagus
1 thinly sliced fennel bulb
1-3 chopped Belgian endive
12 ounces mushrooms, diced or thinly sliced
1 cup leftover pasta
1 cup leftover rice
1-2 sausages, diced
1 cup shredded chicken, pork, or beef, ham, shrimp
Any other leftovers you may have in the fridge
1-3 teaspoons spices, like oregano, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes – whatever you have
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese
6-8 large eggs, enough to cover the ingredients
1/3 – 1/2 cup milk or cream
10" - 12" skillet Spatula
Heat the oven to 400°F.
- Sauté the Frittata Ingredients: If the meat is raw, cook that first and then remove it from the pan to add back in later. Cook the vegetables with a little oil over medium-high heat, starting with the longer-cooking veggies like onions and potatoes and ending with softer veggies like red peppers. Add any meat and cook just enough to warm through.
- Season the Vegetables: Since the vegetables will be mixed with eggs, you want to over-season them a bit here. Add whatever seasonings you wish to use along with a half teaspoon of salt. Let this cook for a minute, then give it a taste. It should taste strong, but still good. Add more spices or salt if needed.
- Add the Cheese: Spread the vegetables, meat, rice, etc. into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the cheese on top and let it just start to melt.
- Add the Egg mixture: Whisk and pour over the vegetables and cheese. Tilt the pan to make sure the egg mixture evenly over all the vegetables. Cook for a minute or two until you see the eggs at the edges of the pan beginning to set.
- Bake the Frittata: Put the entire pan in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the eggs are set. To check, cut a small slit in the center of the frittata. If raw eggs run into the cut, bake for another few minutes; if the eggs are set, pull the frittata from the oven. Cool for five minutes, then slice into wedges and serve. Great at room temperature as well. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for a week.
- For a crispy top, run the frittata under the broiler for a minute or two at the end of cooking.
Now sit back and enjoy this simple and tasty means of capturing the fleeting madness of spring before the mosquitos appear to bring us back to reality!