Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ya Gotta Frittata

     I must admit I was not very good at making frittatas when I first started. I don't burn food often but this was one dish, I kept overcooking. Electric ovens are not friends with the frittata. I believe they were the culprit in my over cooked eggy failure. Many recipes I have researched suggest using an oven save skillet. Any time I make eggs with my iron skillet, I end up with a lot of post cleanup scraping. No thanks. I love frittatas though and I fought through my struggles to get a perfectly fluffy and creamy dish. They are great for any meal of the day and it is the perfect recipe to use with almost any leftovers decaying in your fridge. With the right equipment and some yummy ingredients, I think I finally nailed it!
     The Italian word frittata derives from fritto, the past participle of "to fry" (friggere), and was originally a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet. Over the years, the frittata has modernized into any egg dish that is baked and served in slice form. There are many versions of the frittata, one of my favorites, perfect for Easter brunch, is Alton Brown's asparagus and ham frittata. Any fresh vegetable or leftover/pre-cooked meat can be used in a frittata. I love making these for weekend breakfasts as I go through the fridge trying to get rid of anything that has not been eaten during the week. This week I had some fresh spinach on the verge of wilting and some leftover beer brats. I love how versatile this dish is. You can use any type of cheese on hand. I have used feta and goat in the past. Greyere, a very good and tasty melty cheese, is perfect with any baked dish and is excellent on a frittata with bacon. Today I used a sharp cheddar that I thought would pair nicely with the brats.

Spinach and Beer Brat Frittata with Cheddar and Leeks:

Eggs - I choose egg beaters, I use 2 to 3 eggs per person (1/2 cup eggbeaters=2 eggs)
spices: salt, pepper, smoked paprika, parsley (you can use whatever you like)
1 leek or onion diced
2 handfuls of fresh spinach chopped
3 very grilled beer brats chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
 2 Tbs canola oil

Pre heat oven - I bake mine at 350 but you can also broil it, just don't multi-task and try to vacuum or floss your teeth. Keep an eye on it!!!!

The Fritatta is cooked on the stove first and then placed in an oven. You must keep it in the same pan. Do not try to transfer or you'll get scrambled eggs. In an OVEN SAFE skillet or saute pan, heat the oil. I prefer to use my Creuset. Throw in leeks and spinach and cook for 3 minutes on medium or until nice and soft. Add the brats. Scrape all the ingredients off the sides of pan and make sure it is well greased. Add the egg and season. Add the cheese. DO NOT TOUCH IT!!!

There is no stirring involved in this recipe. Turn heat to medium low. You do not want to burn your frittata because then you would have a terrible temper tantrum and I don't want to see that. Most recipes say to cook the frittata stove top for 3 to 5 minutes. I have a fool proof method. Using potholders, (I don't want you suing me because you burned yourself, dumbass) lightly shake the pan. When the egg has settled and there is a slight jiggle in the middle, it is ready for the oven. Make sure the sides do not get too brown unless you want a crispy texture. I do not.

Place the pan in the oven. Broil for 3 minutes if you want to do Alton's broil method. If you do, keep a close eye on it. I prefer to cover mine with a lid and bake for 10 minutes. I then take the lid off and bake for a few minutes more until top is nice and brown. I think this makes it  fluffy and keeps the frittata moist. Do the jiggle test again with potholders. If there is no jiggle and it does not look watery, it is done!

Let cool, serve in slices with some warm croissants and a salad for a fantastic meal!

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