At The Table An ode to the dinner frittata

An ode to the dinner frittata

At The Table

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Eggs were a luxurious weekend treat when I was growing up. Weekday mornings were usually so rushed, a measly granola bar was all I could manage to eat before school. When Saturday rolled around, breakfast was almost certainly a much bigger deal. I have memories of both of my parents making large quantities of Bisquick pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs, but it was my dad who started to think outside the box when it came to leisurely breakfasts.

It was the frittata that became the new normal on weekends. My dad would get up hours earlier than the rest of us to start chopping and fussing over what to put in that weekend’s crustless quiche. By the time we rolled out of bed, the frittata would be perfectly browned and waiting for us (piping hot) atop the stove. While the ingredient variations weren’t always crowd pleasers (leftover white fish and red cabbage do not mix well with eggs and teenagers), frittatas became a staple weekend food and are still made when we return home to visit.

I’ve adopted the frittata as a regular dish in my house, but I rarely make it for weekend brunch. These days, frittatas are commonly made for dinner—sometimes as often as once or twice a week. I find frittatas to be the perfect meal, paired with a side of greens or even just on their own, loaded with vegetables. For two people, I usually use four to five eggs and a combination of whatever vegetables, cheese and protein I have in the fridge. For a heartier frittata—one that will stand-alone without a side dish—I like to incorporate potatoes.

This summer, load up a frittata with fresh herbs and goat cheese, or chop up a variety of peppers and add them to a frittata with coined lamb sausages from the farmers market.

While I gladly eat frittatas on the regular, no matter the occasion, the added bonus is that they are quick, healthy and relatively foolproof. If you’ve never made a frittata, follow this recipe and see if you don’t start making them weekly for dinner, too.

BROCCOLINI, POTATO, PARMESAN FRITTATA

8 to 10 small waxy potatoes, washed and quartered
1 cup vegetable broth or another broth; this is optional, but I’ve found this adds flavor and great texture to the frittata. If you don’t have broth, just use salted water.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bundle broccolini, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
6-8 large eggs; this will feed 4 comfortably
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes and broth in an ovenproof pan, such as a cast iron that is 9-12 inches in diameter. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, turning the potatoes at least twice during this process. I’ve also covered the potatoes during this boil so that they steam and cook faster.

Once most of the stock or salty water is absorbed (and the potatoes are mostly tender), add olive oil, broccolini and onion to the potatoes and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, turning frequently until everything is coated in oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan, cooking for 5 more minutes, or until the broccolini has become mostly tender and bright green.

Turn your broiler to high.

Beat eggs with half the Parmesan, salt and pepper, and pour it over the vegetables in the pan. Cover and cook over medium until the eggs are mostly set, approximately 5 minutes, depending on the stove. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over frittata and run the whole pan under the broiler, until the top is lightly toasted (about 5 minutes). Keep a close eye on the pan under the broiler, as the eggs could very easily brown in a matter of seconds.

Remove from oven and let sit on stove just to cool a bit. Slice and serve with a side salad.

Claire Jeffers lives in Portland and works as a freelance writer and communications strategist. Follow her adventures on Instagram: @claireinmaine.

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