Frittata is, “can you break eggs? Then you can make dinner.”
Here in Portland, we’ve been having a summer fake-out stretch; temperatures reaching the 70s, lawn mower symphonies and barbecue ignitions. So when I went to the new all-year-long Portland Farmers Market at downtown PSU, I had the spoiled mentality of a June shopper. Where are my strawberries? Garlic spears? It’s going to be canning season soon, dammit! Despite the errant sunshine, it’s not time for a bacchanal buffet of produce. Most markets haven’t opened yet, and those that have are still thin.
So my enthusiasm was short-lived and premature, but I drove all the way into the city to hand-pluck fresh ingredients for dinner. Fortunately, there are a few meals that you can make taste fresh and vibrant even when the market is still stuck in “lots of leafy greens” mode. And one of the easiest of these is a frittata.
Frittata is, “oh, you want something light and ethereal like quiche, but fuck making pastry dough.” Frittata is, “who cares if you have all the stupid ingredients this recipe wants? THE RECIPE IS NOT YOUR MOM.” Frittata is, “can you break eggs? Then you can make dinner.”
What’s most important is equipment. Williams-Sonoma sells a strangely fancy “exclusively frittata” pan priced in the triple digits. The Frittata replies, “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” The best possible pan you can have is an inexpensive cast iron skillet, well-seasoned, loved and perfectly suited for this and a million other applications. Since the frittata starts on the stovetop and finishes underneath the broiler, the durability and conductivity of cast iron is indispensable.
Aside from that, don’t let my own list of finds and refrigerator ingredients limit you. As long as you include eggs and cheese, you’ve got frittata bones. From fake summer to the dead of winter, this is an easy dinner in an elegant disguise.
FAKE SUMMER FRITTATA
¼ cup basil, chopped
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
6 slices bacon
3 small red potatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
½ cup sweet Peppadew peppers, diced
½ cup sliced mushrooms (I found shiitakes)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper
Toppings: Sour cream, salsa, Secret Aardvark sauce
Whisk together the eggs, basil, Pecorino Romano and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cook the bacon in the cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it’s to your level of crispy liking. Remove and place on a plate with paper towels for draining. Crumble when cooled. Add potatoes to the pan and sauté in bacon drippings for 3 minutes, then cover and allow to cook for an additional five minutes, or until al dente. Reserve with the bacon.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, then the onions. Sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Add kale and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Add reserved potatoes and bacon, plus the Peppadews, mushrooms and another ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Spread evenly throughout the skillet. Pour in egg mixture. Allow to cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, then broil for another 3 minutes, until eggs are just about set. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with feta, and then broil for 1 to 2 additional minutes, until just beginning to brown around the edges. Slice and serve.