Frittata with Spring Greens, Feta and Caramelized Onions

March 13th, 2012 No Comments

 

If you live in an area where winters are chilly and you have access to local produce, then you know that

Spring = Eggs and Greens.     

(In some circles Spring also means Maibock Beer, but that’s another story…)

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So if Spring = Eggs and Greens, and Eggs and Greens = Frittata, then Spring = Frittata.

My 7th grade geometry teacher Mr. Gerhart would be so proud!

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A Frittata could be called a crustless quiche, or an open-faced omelette.  They are firm and often served in wedges, either hot or room temperature.  Not unlike a pizza, a pasta or a risotto, a frittata can be a blank slate for many a flavor or ingredient, from herbs and vegetables to meats and cheeses.  Breakfast, lunch or supper—they can be an easy meal of protein and vegetables.

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As you begin a spring cleaning of your home, let some bitter greens do a spring cleaning on your digestive system—-put them in a frittata!  They support liver and digestive functions—very handy after a winter of heavy comfort foods.  They are also packed with magnesium, calcium and a host of antioxidants (beta-carotene, manganese and vitamin E).  Greens rock.

Here are some of my favorite spring bitter greens:

  • Nettles
  • Arugula
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Chicory Greens
  • Rapini (a.k.a. broccoli rabe)
  • Pea Tendrils
  • Baby Mustard Greens
  • Spinach (not bitter, but definitely Spring!)
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The grass is still brown and it is too early to forage outside for nettles or dandelion greens, but our local growers and their new hoop houses provide fabulous early greens.  This is a micro mix of broccoli, cabbage, choi, mustard, and beet greens from River Root Farm.
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Not all spring bitter greens are this dainty and cute!
Most have a strong flavor and tastier when lightly cooked. Here are four common ways I eat my greens:
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1) Sautéed in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and fresh lemon juice.
2) If they are young, in a salad with a vinaigrette—the vinegar in the dressing begins the process of breaking them down, which softens their flavor.
3) In a soup, especially a potato soup.  With buttermilk.   Or a bean soup.
4) With eggs.
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Caramelized Onions—sweet sweet sweet!    The natural sugars of the onions caramelize into a glistening golden pile, and that is why they go well with bitter greens.

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Can you skip this step?   Would I be an Advocate of Adaptability if I said no?  Obviously if you want you will just sauté the onions and add them to the mix.  But if you can let them sizzle for an hour you won’t regret it.   Better yet, prep a panful a day ahead and use them in various dishes throughout the week.
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Caramelized Onions

Melt in a heavy-bottomed pan:

2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Butter

Add:

3 Onions, sliced lengthwise

Simmer for at least 45-60 minutes, until a light golden brown.  

I sometimes add a dash of Balsamic Vinegar at the end.

Here is a Simply Recipes page with more details about caramelizing onions.  They say 5 medium onions yields about 2 cups of caramelized onions.

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Cook the frittata on the stovetop on low heat until the bottom of it is solid, then move to the oven for the final cooking.  If you have a broiler, blast it for a minute.  If you don’t, bake it for a few minutes until it is done.

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We had to be on the road most of yesterday so I took the frittata leftovers along.  It was great road food, even cold!

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Frittata with Spring Greens and Feta

Prep Time:  15-20 minutes  (not including the onions) Cooking Time:  25 minutes

 

Sauté

for a few minutes in a heavy wide saute pan:

Olive Oil

1 1/2 – 2 cups Greens, chopped

Mix together in a bowl:

3 large Eggs

3/4 tsp Coriander

3/4 tsp Paprika

Pinch Nutmeg

Pinch Cayenne

1/8 tsp Sea Salt  (the Feta is salty)

Black Pepper, freshly ground

Add in:

The Sautéed Greens mixture

1/2 cup Feta

1/3 cup Caramelized Onions or Sautéed Onions

Reheat the heavy saute pan.  Melt:

2 teaspoons Butter or Olive Oil

Pour in the Egg/Greens mixture.

Cook on low heat for 5-8 minutes until the bottom is quite firm.

Move pan to oven broiler for 1 minutes, or to a hot oven for another 5 minutes or until fully cooked. 

 

Other Frittata favorites:

  • Artichokes
  • Chevre, Smoked Cheddar or Parmesan Cheese
  • Cooked Potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Bacon
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Pine nuts
  • Fresh Parsley, Basil, Thyme and Rosemary—or any fresh herb!

 

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