The focus of my cooking lately has been simple meals using local vegetables. I’ve started planning my weekly menu after my trip to the farmers’ market instead of before. That way, I can just buy what looks good and plan my meals around it.
J is very busy right now participating in a six-week opera training program at U of A called Opera Nuova. His days are usually 10 to 12 hours long, with only Monday off.
Needless to say all the cooking falls to me! I try to make something home-cooked every night so he can pack it for his meals the next day. I’m sticking to simple meals that don’t take too long to make – Asian noodle and rice salads with lots of vegetables, pasta with tomato-vegetable sauce, Curry with rice, lentil and vegetable soups, etc.
We’ve also been eating a lot more eggs now that they’re readily available at the market. One of my favourite – and easiest – egg dishes is a frittata.
I’ve been cooking free-form frittatas for years. It’s something my Mom used to make when I was younger. The formula is very simple: eggs, vegetables, cheese if you like, all cooked in a pan on the stove and then stuck under the broiler for a few minutes to make the top nice and brown.
The great thing about frittata is its portability. It’s easy to take for lunch and reheat in the microwave. I love egg dishes with a poached or fried egg topping a salad or other dish, but unfortunately they don’t result in easy, packable leftovers.
Heidi Swanson has a great frittata recipe in her latest cookbook, Super Natural Every Day. It’s almost the same as the recipe I use, but I like her trick of removing half the cooked vegetables and topping the frittata with them before broiling. Since I never measure my vegetables but just eyeball them, I’ve taken Heidi’s amounts as my guidelines in the recipe below.
When I took these pictures I used mostly potatoes (purple ones from Sundog Organics) in my frittata. Feel free to play around with the vegetables as you like, and find your favourite ratio of egg-to-vegetable.
Frittata with Purple Potatoes
5 green onions, sliced thinly
8 oz. potatoes (purple or otherwise)
8 oz. seasonal vegetables (good choices are asparagus, mushrooms, peppers [you can also use jarred peppers which is what i did here], zucchini, green beans, broccoli), chopped into bite-sized pieces
Crumbled hard or soft goat cheese
Preheat the broiler.
Either chop your potatoes into bite-sized pieces and cook them in boiling water until just tender, or slice them very thinly.
Heat about 2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet (for this amount of eggs, 10 to 12 inches is good). If you sliced your potatoes, add the green onions and potatoes. Cover and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about ten minutes.
If your potatoes are cooking in a separate pot, add your green onions to the pan and follow the next step.
Add the rest of your vegetables and cook until just tender (if I’m cooking mushrooms I like to cook them until they’re juicy). Remove half the vegetable mixture to a plate.
Meanwhile, whisk your eggs and season with salt and pepper. If you cooked your potatoes in a separate pot, add half of them to the pan once the vegetables are cooked. Lower the heat in the skillet to medium-low and pour in the eggs, making sure the vegetables are evenly distributed. Cook until the eggs are just set and only the very top is still liquid. As they cook, slide a spatula under the cooked eggs and tilt the pan so the uncooked egg slides under.
Add the remaining vegetables and potatoes to the pan and sprinkle with goat cheese. Put the pan under the broiler until the eggs are puffed and brown. This takes me about 3 to 4 minutes, but the time will depend on how hot your broiler is. Keep a close eye on it.
Remove pan and cut frittata into wedges. Heidi suggests topping with chopped chives and sprinkling with olive oil. I think it would also be very good with your favourite hot sauce.