Wednesday, June 26, 2013

desperation dinner

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This afternoon after I put my increasingly not-so-little A down for his nap and headed into the kitchen to tidy up the lunch dishes, I began to think with dread about the fact that I didn't really have anything planned for dinner.  In order to stick to my meal plan for the week, I would have had to run out for chicken and tomato sauce, and even though that list is small, I didn't relish the idea of dragging A into the grocery store.  Short trips like that are almost worse than big ones.

I took a look in the fridge, hoping for inspiration, and realized that I had just enough good produce and plenty of eggs-time for a frittata.  Next to beans and rice, or simple scrambled eggs and toast, a frittata is what I gravitate towards when I'm really desperate.  I made one for the first time about six years ago, in a rare instance of following a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe, and I've never really looked back.  For the uninitiated, a frittata is basically a combination of vegetables and/or meats sautéed together with a mixture of beaten eggs poured over it and then baked.  It's like an omelette, without the pesky trouble of having to flip it or ensure that the eggs in the filling are properly cooked through.

Now, a frittata is not rocket science, and there are a few different methods out there, but I will just include my basic routine here, which works out every time with no problem.  For some reason, I am always a bit fuzzy on how long it needs to bake-I rely on a general time frame and slice into the frittata to check for doneness.

-Preheat oven to 350-375.
-Prepare your filling.  I like to use combinations of whatever veggies I have on hand, and almost never make frittatas with meat.  This isn't really a health-conscious choice, more because if I've had to a resort to a frittata for dinner, I probably don't have any tasty protein on hand.  It would obviously be great with bacon, sausage, or ground beef or turkey.  On days like today, I attempt to dump in good amounts of everything I've got.  When I'm running low on produce, I'll drain a can of chickpeas to supplement the frittata.  Today's combo was halved cherry tomatoes (harvested from our ridiculously productive tomato crop), a package of mushrooms that were miraculously not slimy, two sturdy zucchinis, a handful of spinach, and a tired leek that had been languishing in the fridge for almost two weeks.
-Saute filling in a tablespoon or two (depending on how much filling you're using) of extra-virgin olive oil, in an OVEN SAFE PAN (this is critical, because you'll be transferring the pan to the oven).  The length of time will depend on the vegetable you use, but ultimately, what you're going for is a happy medium between raw and soft. You want a slight crunch to remain, because the veggies will be cooking longer in the oven.
-Whisk eggs with a bit of milk.  A good ratio is probably 3 eggs to 1 cup of uncooked filling, but this is flexible.  I usually make a six-egg frittata.  Season eggs with salt and pepper.
-Once the filling is ready, spread out evenly in the pan. Pour the egg mixture over it.  Swirl the pan around to be sure that the egg has spread completely throughout pan.  It's completely okay if there are sections of filling that are thicker than others.  If you'd like, sprinkle the top with 1/2 - 1 cup of grated cheese of your choice.  We like sharp cheddar, and of course, Gruyere.
-Pop in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.  The time might need to be adjusted according to how large your frittata is going to be (longer for more eggs).  You'll know it's done when the eggs have set completely and the top is golden brown-give the handle of your pan a shake-if it's done, you won't see any movement.  For a final check, slice into the frittata to check to see if it's cooked through.
-For a more complete dinner, serve with a nice green salad.  If you're desperate like we are, pass a bottle of Cholula and devour the whole frittata in one sitting.

1 comment:

Lara said...

Ironically, the Pioneer Woman just did a blog post about "Cowboy Quiche"


oh- and i am sure you know this, but i have a new blog.
(had to get rid of the family one)