Squash Blossom Frittata
The days are becoming shorter, the nights cooler. The highest leaves on the tall maple in our front yard are turning gold, orange and red. Even though these early fall days are warm and sunny yet, there is no mistaking that fall is here. Our lives have become busier, too. Gone are the long, lazy summer days. They’ve been replaced with school, homework, and a faster pace of life.
As seasons change, so do our cooking and eating habits. We cook more on weekends, and freeze sauces, soups and vegetables for easy reheating during weeknights. We bake our own bread on Sundays, and we aim for genuine, healthy meals that are also simple and quick to prepare.
The frittata is just that. Often referred to as an open-faced omelette, the frittata is a classic Italian dish made from beaten eggs mixed with meat, cheese or vegetables and cooked in a skillet over low heat. Unlike an omelette, the frittata is not folded in half. Rather, it is carefully flipped so that it cooks on both sides.
There are countless varieties of frittate (singular – fritatta, plural – fritatte): frittata with zucchini, frittata with asparagus, frittata with artichokes, frittata with sausage, frittata with potatoes, and even frittata with leftover pasta.
We opted for frittata with squash blossoms. One of our favorite summer foods, we jumped on the occasion to have them one more time before summer’s end.
A dozen eggs
Approximately a dozen squash or zucchini blossoms
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano
Prepare the squash blossoms for cooking by removing their stems and pistils or stamen. See this previous post on fried zucchini blossoms for specific instructions. Rinse them gently under water and pat dry. Slice the blossoms lengthwise into 4 strips.
Heat 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the squash blossoms and sauté over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until they become tender, stirring occasionally.
While the blossoms are cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them by hand until the yolks and whites are evenly mixed. Add the Parmigiano, and salt and pepper to taste. When the blossoms are ready, add them to the egg mixture as well, and mix everything together.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a 12-inch, heavy, non-stick frying pan. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, and cook over medium heat for approximately 5-10 minutes. As the egg cooks, use a spatula to loosen the underside of the frittata from the pan to keep it from sticking.
When the frittata is cooked about 2/3 of the way through, flip it over to allow the other side to cook, as well. Frittata-flipping is an art that takes some practice to master. First, use your spatula to be sure that the bottom of the frittata is no sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then, find a large, flat lid that covers the entire pan. It is fine if the cover is even larger than the pan. Holding the lid tightly against the pan, quickly flip the pan over, turning the frittata upside down onto the lid. Slowly lift the pan up and return it to the stove, and carefully slide the frittata back into the pan, the cooked side up.
For frittata-flipping phobics, there is an alternative – once the frittata is cooked about 2/3 of the way through, place the frittata, pan and all, under a broiler for 2-3 minutes to allow the top to finish cooking.
Once cooked, carefully remove the frittata from the pan and onto a large plate. Cut it into wedges just like a pizza, and serve with bread. Frittata can be eaten warm, or at room temperature. You can even place the frittata between two slices of bread for a delicious sandwich.
Do any of you have a favorite frittata?
If so, tell us about it, and share your frittata-flipping tips!