One eggs-cellent dish – By Jenny Morris
The first time I ate frittata I must have been about 7 years old. It was served to me by my friend Paula’s mother, who was this short little Italian mama who loved to prepared delicious little dishes for us to eat after school. I loved the name of this open faced omelette and felt very grand telling my mother in my best Italian accent that we had “frittata for lunch.” I went to bed that night saying the word “frittata” over and over until I thought that I sounded Italian.
The Italian word frittata derives from friggere and it roughly means fried. I used to love watching Paula’s mother beat the eggs and cook them with mushrooms, which she had simmering in golden butter, some parmesan cheese and spring onions with a little bit of garlic, then cook it all together over a slow heat and then finish it off in the oven under the grill.
She said that one should always cook ingredients like mushrooms, or tomatoes and zucchini first, as they have a high water content and would make the frittata watery and unpleasant. I have never forgotten her advice.
A frittata is a wonderful dish to serve to a crowd at breakfast and can be made in a large oven proof dish. What I like about a frittata is that you can clean the fridge out and put all the little bits and pieces into it and it always turns out beautifully. My friend Enzo makes the most delicious frittata using leftover spaghetti and lashings of mascarpone cheese and parmesan cheese – it tastes like heaven!
I love to make one with petite pois, mascarpone cheese, parmesan and mushrooms. There are so many delicious combinations, it’s ultimately up to you and your taste buds to decide what your preferences are. Try one for dinner or lunch or even breakfast – they are delicious hot or cold and make a great addition to a picnic.
Baked Mushroom Leek Frittata
Serves 4 (starter portions)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
2 tsp. Canola/olive oil
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
250g sliced mushrooms (a mix of white button & big brown)
1 tbsp. water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 large eggs
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup (120g) shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Spray a 22cm pie dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Heat canola/olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add leeks and sauté three minutes, until softened. Add mushrooms and sauté five to six minutes until softened and most of the water has evaporated. Add 1 tbsp. water to deglaze the pan.
- Stir in garlic, thyme, ¼ tsp salt, and pepper, and cook one minute until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, evaporated skim milk, remaining ¼ tsp salt, and pepper, to taste.
- Sprinkle ¾ cup of cheese in bottom of pie dish and top with mushroom and leek mixture. Pour egg mixture on top and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese.
- Bake frittata for 30 minutes until top is puffed and golden brown.