Thursday, May 6, 2010

Brunch Idea: This Frittata is Delish

Mother's Day is almost upon us. Traditionally, brunch is in order. If you are planning a brunch and are in need of a tasty main dish, this is a recipe I tweaked from Gourmet.

Their version requires a few vegetables to be steamed, then shocked in ice water. Breaking news: blanching is NOT a flavor booster! Plus, why would I want to create more dishes to wash by using a steaming pan and a bowl of ice water? I say, you're already using a saute pan for the peppers and onions anyway, just saute the other vegetables and pump up the flavor at the same time.

Speaking of flavor, my version has the addition of parmesan cheese, because in my opinion, you just gotta have cheese! Lastly, I share with you a tip that I learned from Emeril Lagasse (over the many years I served as his couch potato apprentice). In any dish that has multiple layers, you need to season each layer as you go. It makes SUCH a difference in the final outcome.

Spring Vegetable Frittata

1 pound thin asparagus
2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)
3 shallots, minced
1 medium zucchini, semi-peeled and diced
3 scallions
12 large eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
1/2 cup heavy cream
¾ cup parmesan cheese, divided
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. WAIT to preheat oven (to 350°F) until all your vegetables have been washed and prepped.

2. Trim asparagus from the stalky ‘breaking point’, then slice what remains into 1 inch pieces. Dice the bell peppers and mince shallots. Peel the zucchini, partially, leaving thin strips of green for color, and cut into small dice. Trim the scallions and slice thinly. Wash, pat dry and chop the parsley (not too finely).

3. Melt a half tablespoon of butter in a nonstick sauté pan. Add the diced bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until lightly browned, 5 or 6 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

4. Add the other half tablespoon of butter to same pan. Sauté the asparagus and scallions for two minutes, then add the minced shallots and diced zucchini. Season all with salt and pepper, then sauté for another two to three minutes.

5. Now preheat your oven, and butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish (3-quart).

6. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, cream, parsley, and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese. Pour this custard into the baking dish. Evenly distribute the vegetables over the egg mixture. Sprinkle with another few grinds of pepper, if desired.

7. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the final ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, then bake for another 15 minutes until golden and set.

8. Cool frittata on a rack briefly before slicing. Serves 12.

Time Saver: You can make this frittata a day ahead, then refrigerate it after it has cooled completely. Rewarm in a 200°F oven for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Now put your feet up, pour yourself a mimosa, and enjoy your brunch with the ones you love.

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