The Crustless Wonder

November 20, 2008 at 4:58 am (From the Cabin Kitchen) (, , )

My new favorite place in Hood River is the Good News Gardening Cafe. It actually has baked goods! A nice, large selection, more than just appallingly dry, blah scones and run-of-the-mill muffins (typical coffeehouse fare here), and I discovered today that they also make a pretty wonderful quiche too.

Now, normally I am not drawn to quiche. It always seems to disappoint, with raw-tasting shortening-laced crust and rubbery eggs, peppered with overcooked, watery vegetables. Today, however, I saw the most beautiful specimens displayed in the pastry case. There they were, innocently waiting next to their sweeter compadres on one of those iron display racks that gave these unassuming savory pies the appearance of levitation. I could see through the Pyrex baking dish that the crust look browned! And maybe flaky! And there were four different kinds! One with Turkey and Bacon–Lordy me–and one with Roasted Vegetables and leeks, and that version with Bacon…I didn’t even bother to ask about the fourth. I mean, Roasted Vegetables and Bacon? Please, say no more.

I went for it, and ordered quiche for the first time in I don’t-know-how-long for my late breakfast/early lunch, the Roasted Vegetable with Bacon, and it was incredible. Those quiches, in my opinion, do not need that rack to levitate–I’m pretty sure that their celestial qualities alone would do the job just fine.

Since I do not have a quiche recipe in my repetoire that could measure up to this Crusted Wonder–not yet anyway–I am going to share with you today my favorite breakfast, The Crustless Wonder, otherwise known as Frittata.

The Frittata is essentially a pastry deficient quiche. You start it in the pan, saute all of the veggies and meat if you are using, and then add the beaten eggs and let it cook for a few minutes.Then, you put it in the oven and finish it off. It really couldn’t be easier. It is my go-to recipe when I can’t be arsed to make individual omelets or fried eggs, and have a crowd to feed. And the best part? The leftovers taste really good for several days, unlike most egg dishes that don’t fare well in the fridge, so if you don’t have a crowd you can eat it the next day wrapped in a tortilla.

Frittata, Master Recipe

You need to use a cast iron or other oven-proof skillet; the oven finish is critical to the Frittata’s success. The beauty of the frittata is that you can put anything you want in it–veggies of all kinds, sausage, ham, turkey, tofu…the combinations are infinite, really. I once used leftover mashed potatoes and it was surprisingly good.

2-3 T. butter

1/2 small yellow or red onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 small red or yukon gold potato, holes poked and microwaved until just soft, halved and then sliced crosswise

About 1 c. chopped veggies,etc: red pepper, sundried tomatoes, green olives, kalamata olives, broccoli…whatever you have

Fresh herbs, just a small handful. Please, I beg you…No dried herbs. Except dill, that one is ok.

Cooked bacon, sausage, chicken, turkey…again, whatever you have. Or go meatless.

Cheese…sense a theme here? Yes, whatever you have. (cream cheese in chunks is one of my favorites)

6 large eggs, beaten with about 2 T. milk. Or half-n-half. I once used soy creamer because that’s what I had…and it worked.

Preheat oven to 350, rack in the center. Melt butter over medium heat in an Ovenproof skillet (cast iron is my personal favorite), then add onion and garlic, sauteeing until soft. Throw in your veggies and herbs if you have any, and cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Then add the meat and stir to combine. Turn up the heat a little, and then add the eggs all at once and DO NOT STIR. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then the cheeses, and cook until the edges are starting to get puffy and pull away from the sides. At this point, put it in the oven and let it cook until nice and puffy and lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from oven. Now, you can leave it in the pan and slice into wedges, serving with Chimichurri, salsa, sour cream, whatever. This is perfectly fine. OR, you can take a knife, run it around the Frittata to loosen it, then place a cutting board on the pan and flip it over. Then, take another cutting board or large plate, and place it on the bottom of the Frittata and flip it again, making it right-side-up once more, giving it some presentation pizazz.

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