Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Zucchini Spinach Frittata
We all have days where cooking is the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day. The next time you get a case of the kitchen blues instead of reaching for the takeout menus, take just a moment to toss together this tasty treat. The frittata is a glorious food that uses egg as a vessel with which to deliver any number of wondrous ingredients to your pallet. At first glance it looks a lot like a giant omelet or a quiche, but there are a few subtle differences.
The omelet is almost universal in that most cultures have some version of it. The main difference from a quiche or frittata is it’s simplicity. Usually just egg with a very little liquid added, an omelet is cooked in a very hot pan with butter. the omelet is folded around it’s fillings which are often very mild, sometimes just fresh herbs salt and pepper.
A quiche is a savory egg dish similar to a custard. French in origin the quiche incorporates milk or cream with the eggs to give a rich creamy texture and flavor to the finished dish. Quiche comes in many variations but is usually baked in a light pastry crust with meats, cheese or vegetables added before baking. The quiche can be eaten hot or cold.
A frittata is commonly associated with Italian cuisine and differs from an omelet in that the eggs are whipped to incorporate more air and the fillings are added to the pan prior to the eggs. A frittata can incorporate milk or water with the eggs depending on the cook’s preference. It is usually begun on the stove top before being transferred to the oven to finish it off. Very versatile the frittata can be served hot or at room temperature and unlike the quiche a frittata has no crust which makes this a quick weeknight dinner fix.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (low fat works great)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp basil
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 zucchini cubed
1 cup spinach roughly chopped
1 onion diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
Whip your eggs until light in color. Add the garlic and ricotta cheese, combining gently so as not to deflate the eggs. Saute the onion and zucchini until soft but not browned. Add the spinach and spices stirring until the spinach is just wilted then pour on the egg and cheese mixture. On the stove top cook for another minute before transferring the pan to oven. Bake for another 10 minutes or until firm and slightly brown on top. Just before placing the pan in the oven top the dish with the shredded Parmesan. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.
This is a great dish you can whip up anytime with whatever is in your pantry. Sausage, cheese, veggies they're all fantastic in a frittata!