Sunday, September 14, 2008

La La Frittata

This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens, back in the early 90s. While it's no longer $.54 per serving like it was in 1992, it's still a very reasonably priced entree. Although not as thick as a quiche, it somehow seems more robust/flavorful.

And speaking of pricing... I feel like an investing genius for having filled my tank at $3.69 a few days ago. And now, of course, I don't want to drive anywhere - it's not just that it's hard to find gas under $4.20/gallon, it's that it's hard to find gas anywhere at any price. Maybe I should make some feel-better cookies, too....

Baked Spinach and Ham (or Not) Frittata

8 eggs or two 8-ounce cartons of frozen egg product, thawed
1/4 tsp dried basil crushed (that's skimpy - go to 1/2 tsp if you want to)
Two shakes or twists of black pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion (also optional)
1 TBSP butter OR 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (butter will have a richer taste)
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained (I unwrap the package, put it in a sieve, and let ambient temperature work its magic)
4 ounces thinly sliced, fully cooked ham or turkey ham, chopped (that's about 3 or 4 slices of deli ham)
1 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese

This isn't called for in the recipe, but I threw in a few spoonfuls of low-fat feta when I do the final mix. I have some that I need to use up, and who doesn't love feta with spinach?

For this recipe you will need an oven-proof skillet. That means that it can't have any plastic at all; check the handle carefully. I use a terrific All-Clad stainless skillet that I bought at Target or Linens & Things a few years ago.

Usually an ovenproof skillet will also have a lid without any plastic. Since you don't need to cover the skillet in the oven for this recipe, whatever lid you have is fine AS LONG AS the skillet itself doesn't have plastic.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Thaw and drain the spinach. Frozen spinach really holds a lot of water - you'll have to either press the spinach against a sieve or pick it up and wring it out with your hands.

3. In a medium bowl combine the eggs, basil, and pepper - stir until combined. Set aside. I like to add a few dashes of Frank's Red Hot sauce or Tabasco sauce at this point, too.

4. If using onion, chop the onion finely.

5. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet cook onion in hot butter or oil until tender but not brown. They will lose their solid white color and look a little more see-through.

6. Remove the skillet from the heat (or, if using a gas stove, turn the burner off). Stir in the spinach and ham/turkey ham. Add the egg mixture to the skillet and stir.

7. Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven about 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. "Clean" is a relative term - when you pull the knife out it should not have runny egg liquid streaming down the blade.

8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Cut into 8 wedges. Makes 4 servings.

My frittata is still soupy in the middle; I baked it for 15 minutes.
Yup, that happened to me, too, with this recipe. If it's pure liquid in the middle, set the timer for 4 minutes and check again. After that, check at 2 minute intervals - eggs go very quickly from soft to cooked to eeeewwwww. Gotta watch 'em.

Any side dish recommendations?
If you're serving this for breakfast I recommend a slice of whole-grain toast and/or some fruit, or even some breakfast potatoes. For lunch or dinner some carrot sticks or roasted carrots would be good. If you can still get decent tomatoes, then sliced fresh tomatoes on the side would be fabulous.

And can I get a hearty "amen" for entrees that can go to any meal, any time of day?

What other vegetables can I throw in here?
A frittata is a great way to use up leftover vegetables. Do be careful, though, that there's enough egg to hold everything together. To this recipe you could add another 1/4 cup of either mushrooms, bell pepper, or broccoli (or a combination of the three, as long as it totals no more than 1/4 cup).

Normally sundried tomatoes would go beautifully in a frittata, but with the ham and the cheese it would just be too many strongly-flavored ingredients in the same dish, which always ends up a mess.

As much as I love zucchini it's a no-go here; the frittata wouldn't firm up due to the excess water.

Could I use bacon instead of ham?
I guess... that's an awful lot of bacon...

Is this recipe bootcamp friendly?
In terms of protein, yes (21 grams per two-slice serving); fiber, no (0).

My frittata is dry and rubbery. What to do?Buy an oven thermometer to make sure your oven's idea of 350 degrees matches everyone else's idea of 350 degrees. Ditch the frittata and break out that frozen entree from yesterday's shopping list. It happens to all of us sooner or later...

Do you really need butter or oil? Won't a few spritzes of Pam do the job?
The cooking spray will cook the onion just fine. But try getting that blasted frittata out of the pan in any semblance of a "slice" without butter or oil. In my constant quest to cut calories I tried just using cooking spray, and needed some sort of Cooking Jaws of Life (OK, 3 different spatulas, but still) to get this baby out of the pan.

You've got multiple posts on this blog about how much your dog loves ham - she even sleeps with a little stuffed piggie toy. Can she tell when you're cooking with pork products?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not to brag, but I filled up yesterday, Saturday, in Fredericksburg, VA for $3.599/gal. It was $4.199 in NC today!! Eew. I think we should brag about our local gas prices. How sad.