I’ve never been a big fan of scrambled eggs. I can eat an omelet if I’m in the right mood, but only if it is fluffy and puffy and full of fresh, slightly crisp vegetables. And, I must have plenty of buttered whole wheat toast and crisp bacon on the side. But, just tell me there is a frittata in the oven and I’m there.
I was a young teenager when I ate frittata for the first time. I was visiting my aunt and uncle in Chicago. Both raised on Indiana farms, they loved to garden. They had a huge garden that took the place of grass in most of their relatively small suburban-Chicago yard. On this particular day, my uncle had gone out to the garden to harvest onions, peppers, tomatoes and basil. With those ingredients, he created one large, fantastic frittata — a mish-mash of fresh and flavorful garden vegetables and herbs all cooked together in a blend of eggs the color of the sun in a clear morning sky.
When I close my eyes, I can almost smell my aunt and uncles kitchen that morning, a perfume of fresh basil, Hungarian paprika, sauteed onions and peppers. And then, my mouth actually begins to water with the anticipation of the breakfast to come.
My vegetable garden consists of two pepper plants and a tomato plant each flourishing in its own big pot. There’s nothing ready to harvest from those plants, yet. Two big, bushy basil plants are in last year’s square-foot garden plot. I’ve been pinching off aromatic leaves from those plants for weeks.
Lucky for me, local farmers started their gardens way before I did this year. With the fruits of their labor, my favorite meal partner and I had a lovely frittata for lunch today.
The round frittata, chock full of peppers, onions and zucchini, begins cooking on the stove. When the egg-mixture is still a bit soft and liquidy in the middle, cheese is scattered over the top. The frittata finishes cooking under the broiler as the cheese melts and begins to bubble.
Today we topped each serving with a chopped ripe tomato and ribbons of fresh basil. I forgot the toasted pine nuts that I meant to sprinkle over the tomatoes and basil. If you happen to have some pine nuts, I highly recommend toasting a handful in a small pan over medium heat. They are so delicious eaten with this Garden Vegetable Frittata.
A nice big wedge of Garden Vegetable Frittata makes a great meal morning, noon or night. It’s quick and easy to prepare. It’s healthful. It’s scrumptious. What more could you ask for?
If Garden Vegetable Frittata with toast is a complete meal for me and my husband, this recipe is just right for the two of us. Add some bacon and roasted potatoes on the side, and this Frittata will yield 3 to 4 servings.
Here in northern Minnesota, there is a long harvest season ahead. Well, several weeks, anyway. That means so many easy, delicious meals of Garden Vegetable Frittata to look forward to.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 of a green bell pepper
- 1/2 of a red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped zucchini
- 4 eggs
- 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 ripe tomato, chopped
- 4 leaves fresh basil, sliced into ribbons (chiffonade)
- Fresh basil sprigs for garnish
Heat olive oil in a 10-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onions, peppers and zucchini and saute about 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
In a 4-cup glass measure, use wire whisk to blend eggs until mixture is all the same color. Pour over vegetables in skillet. Swirl pan to spread eggs evenly. As egg mixture cooks, it will get firm around the edge. Use a thin metal spatula to carefully lift the edge as you tilt the pan to allow liquid egg to run down into the empty space you’ve created. Continue this procedure around the pan 4 to 6 times. The egg will finish cooking under the broiler.
Scatter cheese evenly over the top of the frittata. Place oven rack about 6 inches below broiler. Slide pan with frittata under the broiler. If you have the option, broil on Low. If your oven does not have that option, just watch the frittata very carefully. Remove when cheese is melted and bubbling and just beginning to turn golden brown.
Cut the frittata into serving-size pieces and place on plates. Top each serving with chopped tomato. Sprinkle with ribbons of fresh basil. Serve hot. Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Tip from the cook
- Toasted pine nuts are a pleasing addition to this Garden Vegetable Frittata. Sprinkle them over the top of each serving.
- Orzo Skillet Dinner is another way to make good and tasty use of zucchini. It’s in my column this week. Click here to get to the recipe.