When I was on vacation earlier this summer, one of the lessons I learned from my friend Cecil was that a frittata was a great way of showcasing leftovers in a new and tasty manner. I’m glad I remembered that this past week when I found myself staying with friends on Canyon Lake for the week.
The night before checkout, we had a refrigerator filled all manner of odds and ends, including most of a dozen of eggs.
They’re the perfect binder for everything we had, which included the last bits of pork chop leftover from Perry’s Steakhouse (those 32-ounce servings do go quite a long way), some tear drop tomatoes from the Hill Country and shaved Reggiano. A few leaves of chopped parsley and literally the rest of the salt.
One friend can’t eat anything spicy, so some red pepper flakes I wanted to include would have to go on afterward.
But that’s the beauty of a frittata. You can make it with anything you’ve got on hand, as long as you have the eggs to bind it with. You can also serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s also great hot or cold.
But it’s also a good idea not to overload the dish. Think of a pizza with too many competing flavors. So, I didn’t need to add the porcini salami that was also in the fridge or the fresh lima beans that would have needed to be hulled. Thankfully, I didn’t add the rest of the spinach, which tasted too bitter when sautéed.
The lesson I forgot was to start cooking the eggs on the stove top before placing the dish in the oven, so it took much longer to cook. When the top wouldn’t set after cooking for more than 20 mintues, it took turning on the broiler to get the top as done (another tip from Cecil) as the rest. It worked, but the following technique is much better.
The recipe is from celebrity chef Alton Brown, and it’s a great base. The only staples you need are the eggs and, at least in my opinion, the salt. All of the rest can be whatever you have on hand.
6 eggs, beaten
1-ounce Parmesan, grated
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup chopped roasted asparagus
1/2 cup chopped country ham
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
Preheat oven to broil setting.
In medium size bowl, using a fork, blend together eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and salt. Heat 12-inch non-stick, oven safe saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to pan and melt. Add asparagus and ham to pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with rubber spatula. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Sprinkle with parsley.
Place pan into oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Remove from pan and cut into 6 servings. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.