Tag Archives: frittata

Courgette Frittata / Zucchini Frittata

Plated courgette frittataCourgette (aka Zucchini) Frittata

Recently, I’ve been seeing piles of squash arriving in at the local farmers market.  This means, it’s time to bring out those recipes that use zucchini (also known as courgettes) to use up this year’s crop.  I found this recipe in a British magazine when I was living there, but I’m not sure where my copy of it got to in all my changes of households over the years.  At some point, I’d tweaked it and modified it so much that I might have even tossed out the original instructions.  Now, I just recreate it from memory whenever I have a craving for it.

Courgette frittata with berries & smoked salmonFrittata with Smoked Salmon and Berries

Having picked up a bag of mixed zucchini (courgettes) and summer squash at the Greenmarket this week, along with a dozen eggs and cheddar cheese from one of my favorite stands, I knew that I was going to put this together for brunch over the holiday weekend.  I also snapped up a couple of sets of red and black raspberries to add to the dish as a garnish.  This frittata is terrific to serve on the breakfast side or the lunch side of brunch, so adding a green salad would also work, too.

Courgette frittata portioned outCourgette frittata portioned out

This recipe would be great to make for a picnic, as well.  It doesn’t need to be served scorching hot; room temperature will do.  It also packs up well to pop in the oven or microwave to reheat for a quick and easy meal on the go, as you’re running out the door to get to work (or even when you are already there before answering the a.m. barrage of emails and phone calls).  One of the reasons this is in my keeper file is that it is not only delicious, but flexible and quick and easy to make.  It’s a good option for those Breakfast for Dinner nights, too.


Courgette Frittata / Zucchini Frittata

Prep time: 30-45 minutes

Serving size: 4-6 people (depends upon how big you’d like the portions to be)


3 medium-sized Courgettes / Zucchini (dark and/or light green),

3 oz. (75 g) Cheddar Cheese, white, mild (not extra-sharp)

5 Eggs, large (can also use 2 whites and 3 whole eggs)

1 pinch Salt

1/4 tsp. (1-2 g) Black Pepper, freshly ground

2 Tbsp (30 g) Shallot, finely minced (about 1 medium shallot)

1 Tbsp (15 g) Unsalted Butter

1 tsp. (5 g) Olive Oil


Grating courgettesGrating courgettes (zucchini)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Centigrade / Gas Mark 4).  Trim the end of the courgettes (zucchini) and move them cross-wise on the large holes of a box grater to create large shredded pieces.  Stop just before you get to the end of the courgettes (zucchini), as you don’t want to use that part (like the photo above).  You should end up with around 200 grams (or 8 ounces or 1 packed cup) of vegetables.  Squeeze the courgette (zucchini) using cheesecloth or a clean dishtowel (or your hands – I usually do it that way) over the sink until most of the water is gone from it.  Set it aside.

Prepped ingredientsPrepped ingredients

Grate the cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater.  Put that to the side until ready to mix with the courgettes (zucchini).  Chop the shallots very finely.  Also set that aside until ready to cook them.  You’ll end up with separate piles of the ingredients ready to be combined with the eggs.

Egg whites & yolks separatedEgg whites and yolks separated

The next step is a bit of a fussy one, but it’s one that I use when making omelets as well, too.  I separate the egg whites from the yolks (darn – there’s always that one yolk that falls apart!).  Then, I whisk the yolks until they are smooth and creamy.  Into the egg yolks, I add the shredded courgettes (zucchini) and cheddar cheese along with the salt and pepper.  Stir to combine all these ingredients.

Egg whites - whiskedWhisked egg whites

Whip up the egg whites until they are light and frothy.  They should not get anywhere near the meringue stage, just agitated enough to break down the structure of the whites and make them more liquid and fluffy.

Courgette mixture combined w egg whitesFrittata ingredients combined

Pour the courgette (zucchini) mixture into the egg whites.  Gently fold in the courgette mixture until it is thoroughly combined with the egg whites.

Shallots cookingShallots cooking in butter and oil

Place a 23 cm / 10-inch ovenproof skillet on the stove over low to medium heat.  Put butter and olive oil in the skillet so that the butter melts and the liquid combines with the oil.  Add the shallots and cook until they are softened, about 1-2 minutes.

Frittata on stovetopFrittata cooking on stovetop

Pour in the frittata ingredients.  Very quickly give a couple of gentle stirs to combine the shallots and butter/oil into the courgette (zucchini) mixture so that they are incorporated with the vegetables, cheese, and eggs.  Leave the frittata alone to cook on the stovetop for 5 minutes until the frittata is mostly set but still wet and jiggling a bit in the middle, like with a custard.

Courgette frittata out of the ovenFrittata out of the oven

Put the pan into the oven and let the frittata cook for another 5-10 minutes until it is completely set and is golden brown around the edges (check to see how it is doing after 5 minutes).  The top of the frittata should still be a nice, sunshine-y yellow.  *Leave it in the pan on a trivet or the stovetop to cool for a few minutes before cutting into it.  Serve warm or at room temperature or save for eating later.

Kitchen Witch Tip:*

Hot pan handleSign of a hot pan handle

When the pan in which you cooked the frittata comes out of the oven, it will be scorching hot, enough to really hurt the person who touches it bare-handed.  I know this sounds like it makes common sense, but when you have people running around your kitchen or you’re greeting guests, there’s that one split second when you might forget just how fired-up this cooking implement really is.  It will take quite while for it to cool down.

In the professional kitchen (and as we were taught to do in culinary school), there’s a a couple of ways we indicate to our fellow team members that they might want to take caution when handing a hot pan.  A. leave a side towel wrapped around it or B. sprinkle flour on it to make it stand out.  In your own home kitchen, wrapping a towel around the handle or covering it with a potholder, as in the photo above, are good options.  Just remember to let the person washing your dishes know that the handle is hot before he/she slips off the covering and places it in the sink. (It’s probably not necessary to say “caliente” before handing into to him/her to clean, as we do in the restaurant.)

Buon appetito!

Vital Juice and Facebook

I have some great news to pass along as a follow up to my Farmers’ Market Frittata post! Vital Juice, another great resource, picked up my recipe (see that category on their site) on a recommendation from Karen Seiger at Markets of New York and published it yesterday (see my post on her book here). Today, she posted a gorgeous photo of the garlic scapes at the Greenmarket in Union Square, just like the ones that went into the frittata that I mentioned.


The other news is that I’ve started doing mini-posts on Facebook. Please become a fan of The Experimental Gourmand there and see some more food photos, links to articles I think are interesting, and posts on other food (and eating!) topics. I’m not responsible for any hunger pangs that might follow as a result!


Buon appetito!


Garlic Scapes and a Greenmarket Frittata

A friend of mine emailed me this afternoon with a request for a recipe featuring Garlic Scapes. Her timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I have no idea how on earth she knew that I had been playing around with this very seasonal, very limited availability ingredient just this past weekend.

Looking like something of a cross between a scallion and a chive, the garlic scape is actually the stem of the garlic plant in a very young stage (pre becoming a bulb). I spotted them last week at Keith’s Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket*. The vendors were very helpful when I asked what to do with it, as I’d never cooked with this before. They said that I should first try it raw. Sensing that I was a bit skeptical, once again I was prodded to take off a tip of the green part and taste for myself what the fascination is with this item.
As I chewed a piece of the stalk, a burst of raw garlic flavor woke up my mouth. Then, it gently subsided. Cooking it, I was told, would mellow out some of the intensity, as well. I was also reassured that the entire stem could be used, top to bottom. So, I picked up a small bunch and took it home to try. For $1.50, it was worth the risk of ruining such an intriguing plant. On the contrary, it ended up being my secret ingredient in the Fettucine with Peas and Asparagus that I wrote about on Sunday. The taste of the scape was a light, fresh counterpart to the seasonal vegetables.
After my success this weekend using the scapes in a pasta dish, I decided to see how this ingredient would work in another recipe I’d tried recently. A couple of weeks ago, I had made the Pea, Asparagus, Pancetta, and Goat’s Cheese Frittata from an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word. After the call from my friend today, I decided to revamp the recipe with the addition of the scapes and attempt to make it completely (or as much as possible) about what I had found at the Greenmarket, a.k.a. seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. Here is the result below: Farmers’ Market Frittata.

Serving Size: 6 wedges
Prep Time: 30 minutes
5 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic ramp, white part only, minced (if you still have green part, also mince)
2 garlic scapes, minced
1/2 c. freshly-shelled peas
1 c. pencil-thin asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped finely
2 oz. goat’s cheese, unsalted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Centigrade or Gas Mark 4). Beat egg whites in medium bowl until frothy. Whisk in egg yolks to combine. Add salt and pepper and stir. Set aside.
In a 10-inch non-stick ovenproof skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium to low heat, until they are fully incorporated. Add peas and asparagus. Toss to coat in the butter/oil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in minced ramp (white only) and garlic scapes and continue to cook for 1 minute more.
Pour in egg mixture so that the vegetables and eggs are distributed evenly throughout. Sprinkle basil and green part of ramp, if using. Crumble goat’s cheese on top of egg-vegetable mixture. Let cook undisturbed for 5 minutes or until the edges are set and just getting brown and the interior part is still slightly wobbly when you shake the pan.
Put the entire pan in the oven and cook for another 5 minutes, until the frittata has set completely. Take out of the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring on to a plate. Slice into wedges to serve. This can be chilled whole or after cutting into pieces.
I love the collage of vibrant colors that come together in this dish. When you cut open the frittata, you see the bits of green from the vegetables and herbs with specks of white from the cheese, all surrounded by deep yellow eggs. The yolks of some of the eggs from Knoll Krest Farm, my standby source for these, were almost orange, which is why the hue of the final product came out as richly-colored as it did. This recipe was also a great way to use up some of the vegetables I’d bought a week or so ago, and that were sitting in my fridge looking for a home. It is rewarding to me to see that it is possible to create a mostly locally-sourced dish.
I’d shelled my own peas that I’d bought at Migliorelli Farm (and brought back the pods for composting the next week). The asparagus had come from Terhune Orchard, which might also be the same source for the lone garlic ramp, I can’t remember exactly. My go-to source for herbs when they are at the market is Stokes Farm. I picked up the basil there, some of the first I’ve seen this year. Lynn Haven Goat Farm has gorgeous logs of goat cheese, some with herbs and some without. I’ve cooked with their product before, and it has produced excellent and flavorful results. Even the butter I used to cook everything in came from the market, from Ronnybrook Farm.
This is definitely a good, quick weeknight supper or a make-ahead, lunchbox treat. That’s what I really like about making frittatas in general. They can be so flexible. A side salad of greens from one of the other market stalls, where lettuce is just exploding at this point in the season, along with a dessert of some early-season strawberries that are also all around, and you can keep up the local theme of this meal.
Buon appetito!
*The Greenmarket at Union Square in New York City is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays year-round, with some exceptions. For more information on this and the other greenmarkets in the city, you can go to: http://www.cenyc.org/greenmarket

Pea, Asparagus, Pancetta, and Goat’s Cheese Frittata

In my parents’ household, there is “The List.” If it isn’t on the “The List,” it doesn’t get bought at the store during shopping trips. I’m also a list-maker for my weekly grocery shop, so maybe it is hereditary. I write it down usually on Saturday mornings before I head downtown to the Greenmarket. Sometimes I jot on deli napkins, occasionally I find a small slip of paper on which to make notes, but it can really be written down on anything handy, like the back of the envelope on which I wrote this week’s list. It is small, isn’t it, with just a few, basic items?
Well, then, how come I ended up coming home with all of this beautiful bounty? I committed the transgression of which my family routinely accuses me: I went off of the list. I couldn’t help myself. It just all looked so beautiful in the bright sunshine of a Saturday morning at the market. When I saw that peas and asparagus had collided, which sometimes they don’t, I realized that I could try a dish I’d seen on The F Word, and I proceeded to track down the other things I needed as well.

This Pea, Asparagus, Pancetta, and Goat’s Cheese Frittata was served as an appetizer on the show. The recipe calls for making a larger portion that can be cut into wedges. For my dinner, I used only two of the eggs and cut back on the other ingredients proportionately to create a single serving that made a filling but not heavy dinner, something much needed given how hot it has been the past few days. Except for the pancetta, everything was bought at the farmers’ market, even the wild Italian arugula on top. This dish is a great example of how gorgeous food can be local and seasonal.
Buon appetito!
Kitchen Witch Tip:

Shell peas have a very short season around here, so I like to buy lots of them, shell them, and then freeze the peas to have on hand. Fresh peas also lose their sweetness quickly, which is why many chefs buy frozen ones to keep on hand. They are easy to pod, and the results are very tasty.