Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Quick 'n dirty frittata

Rapid-fire summary: This is not authentic and Spanish.  It is great, and quick.  Fry onions or not, cooked potatoes if they’re around, fresh chilli or garlic if you will, any available vegetables, and pour over whisked egg.  When it’s almost cooked through, grate cheese on top and stick it under the grill to finish off.  Summer veg – peppers, courgettes, baby spinach – work beautifully.  Served on a bed of baby spinach, it’s gorgeous.  It’s also tasty cold.

And now, in pictures... I most often make a spinach & blue cheese frittata (or ground elder and blue cheese, in season) but the day I took these pictures, I happened to be using up spare veg in the fridge, and rejoiced in finding a chilli to join them. So substitute any veg you feel (and if you're doing the cooking-for-one menu plan, you're using spinach).

4-5 eggs, any veg available, and some cheese. Kitchen set up nice and tidy with a bowl for veg offcuts

Cut the red pepper (if that is your veg) into sticks - if pepper disassembly baffles you, here's how to do that.

Chop the chilli, if you're using such a thing, at a slant, to get prettier pieces.

The courgettes (again, if that is your veg) should also be in sticks, so cut them in half lengthways and lay them on the board, cut down the centre of each half, then down the middle of each quarter, holding the knife at an angle. 

Cut it in half or thirds short ways - I want long sticks so I'm going for halves.

Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk them together with a little whisk or a fork. I've tried separating eggs to whisk the white super fluffy first, but the difference is minor.

All the ingredients except the grated cheese ready to go. You can grate the cheese in advance - enough to fill a cup once it's grated.

Heat butter or ghee - I have this on the highest heat because I want to singe the veg, but I'm using ghee. Butter will burn at this heat so use medium-high if you're using butter. For spinach, a medium-hot heat is probably better.

Chuck all the veg in together. If you're using spinach as well as other veg, hold that back - it only needs about a minute so you'll want to give the rest a chance to cook first.

I fried this for 5-10 minutes, very hot, to get the edges just blackening. I've now turned the heat down to almost the lowest before I put the egg in. With a thicker pan or an electric stove, you'd need to turn the heat down more in advance, cos they take a while to change temperature.

LOWERING THE HEAT IS ESSENTIAL. If you smell burning, just put it over the grill sooner. It takes a bit to learn your pan and stove for this one.
I used a different pan this time, and it rather threw my timing.

I've just poured the egg over the veg - the temperature was still a tiny bit too high, you can see how the egg frilled at the edges as it bubbled.

Time to put the grill on to cook the top...

The frittata will need about 3-5 mins on the stove, so I have time to grate the cheese.

It's ready to be topped with cheese and go under the grill - the top isn't cooked yet but most of it stays in place when I tip the pan. I can't let it cook all the way through on the stove, because the underneath would burn.

And up close...

Sprinkle cheese evenly over it... Most of the time, including this one, I use my standard cheese - mature or extra-mature cheddar. With spinach, this would be blue cheese, probably Stilton, or feta does rather well. If I were feeling extravagant, maybe pecorino or parmesan.

Pop it under the grill for 2-4 minutes. DO NOT LEAVE THE KITCHEN. Food knows when you leave and punishes you by burning.

Just enough time to wash up what I've used... By the way, wash raw-egg stuff in cold water, it stops the egg cooking on, so it's easier.


It's tricky to get out neatly. Cut it properly in quarters with the spatula, then loosen all the edges before gently taking out each slice. Grind black pepper over if you like that sort of thing, and really, who doesn't?

Bon appetit! If you're not sharing it, the other two slices will keep in the fridge and make a lovely cold lunch the next day. If you want to pretty it up, serve it with a salad. And maybe white wine.

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