Monday, February 7, 2011

Vegetable Frittata with Italian Herb Blend

One of the meals I make when it appears as if there is little to eat in the house is an egg based frittata (essentially a flat, baked omelet.) It's a great way to use up bits of vegetables, some cheese and/or meat (either are optional.) ~ Add a green salad and perhaps serve with toast, garlic bread, or warm rolls and you have a satisfying meal in minutes. It's budget friendly and perfect for times when the pantry and cupboards seem bare. I like the fact that they can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature ~ and a slice is a great snack any time of day or night. Frittatas are perfectly portable as well,  sometimes I'll make one to take along on a picnic, when it has cooled I cut and wrap individual portions ~ add some fruit, a baguette, your beverage of choice and you're all set for a nice al fresco treat.


You're probably familiar with how to make a frittata ~

Here's how I make mine:  I start mine in an oven-safe skillet (well seasoned cast iron works great). A smallish pan for a few portions, larger if you have a crowd to feed. 

Select and cut the fillings, whisk up some eggs (I always just estimate the number of eggs, you need enough eggs to just cover the ingredients in the pan), add Ariosto seasoning of choice (or herbs and salt and pepper.) 

Melt about a tablespoon or so of butter or olive oil in the medium-hot pan, add the filling/s to the pan to heat. When hot pour in the beaten, seasoned eggs, give the pan a shake or a stir to distribute the eggs evenly around the filling and while still on the heat, allow the mixture to just begin to set. Transfer the pan to a 350* oven (middle rack) and bake until just firm. Usually 10 to 20 minutes, (the amount of time will depend upon the size of the pan, density of ingredients, etc.) Best baked until firm, but not over-done or the texture will be rubbery.

 Optional:  A couple of minutes before the frittata is done baking sprinkle some cheese on top (your choice of cheese, or cheeses)  place back in the oven until cheese is melted and bubbling.
If you like you can place the pan under the broiler element for a couple of moments to give it a nice golden finish.


Vegetable Frittata with Italian Herb Seasoning

For the filling I generally use cooked vegetables; any kind you wish. Of course if you choose to use something like scallions/green onions, tomatoes, baby spinach, etc. ~ those need not be cooked. If using cheese, you can add it to the beaten egg mixture before pouring it over the filling, but this can cause the frittata to stick.  To prevent this I usually sprinkle a light layer of cheese on top during the last few minutes of baking. 

This time I had left over, cooked, whole potatoes so I peeled them (optional) and sliced them about 1/4-inch thick. For extra flavor and texture I  lightly browned them in a skillet with a combination of half olive oil and half butter.  As they were browning, I sprinkled them generously with Ariosto Seasoning for Potatoes*, a delicious herb blend imported from Italy. (Alternately you could roast the potatoes; generously drizzle a shallow rimmed baking pan with olive oil and toss the potato slices in the pan to coat, then dot liberally with butter and sprinkle with  the herb blend, place in hot oven until as crisp and brown as you like ~ turning once or twice so they brown evenly.)

Usually I add some herbs to all frittatas, but the enticing aroma from this particular blend of herbs actually brought compliments from everyone in the house as the potatoes were cooking! *

*Herbs, not spices, No preservatives
Sea Salt, garlic, rosemary, sage, juniper, basil, marjoram, oregano, laurel (bay), coriander and parsley. 

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