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Food & Entertaining

Vegetable Frittata

Author: Sydney Dye
Issue: May, 2013, Page 58

If you’ve never tasted a frittata, it’s time you experienced this somewhat humble egg dish. The word frittata derives from the Italian verb friggere, which means “to fry.” But don’t let that scare you; when you prepare a frittata, the eggs and other ingredients are first combined and then typically baked slowly in the oven. Simple to prepare, and easy-to-tweak ingredients-wise once you know the technique, frittatas allow you to play with whatever you have on hand.

When making this recipe, be sure to start your sauté in an ovenproof skillet. Consider using a copper sauté pan, which is an excellent conductor of heat, well adapted for extreme oven temperatures, and makes for a pretty presentation.

Spring Vegetable Frittata
When ready, the frittata should be domed and firm in the middle, and a knife inserted in the center should come out clean.

Serves 8

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, washed thoroughly, dried and finely sliced (use both white and green parts)
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 red or orange bell pepper, cored and seeded, medium dice
4 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 summer squash, medium dice
8 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (any combination of parsley, chives and/or basil)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

This recipe is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a light dinner served with a green salad, crusty bread and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
PREHEAT oven to 350°. Position rack in the middle of the oven.

PLACE the butter in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet and melt over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes; do not brown. Add the vegetables and sauté until just tender (about 8-10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

WHISK together the eggs, flour and baking powder in a medium bowl, until thoroughly combined. Add the ricotta, Gruyère cheese and herbs, and stir. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; stir to combine.

POUR egg mixture over the vegetable sauté and place the pan, uncovered, in the middle of the preheated oven.

BAKE the frittata until browned and puffed (approximately 45-50 minutes). Serve hot.

Chef’s Note
You can make this dish ahead of time, or simply sauté the vegetables in advance and keep them refrigerated in a covered container for use the next day. This is also a great recipe for making use of leftover grilled, roasted or steamed veggies. 

Beware! Leeks are grown in very sandy soil and hold a lot of sand between their layers. To clean them, cut lengthwise and rinse between all layers. Then pat dry, trim green ends, lay flat and thinly slice.

Sydney Dye is a home gardener, chef and owner of First Fig Culinary Adventures in Scottsdale.
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