Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sunday Brunch : A Spring-Perfect Zucchini Frittata

Last week, at St. Pete's Saturday Morning Market, the hubs and I picked up some beautiful, fresh produce, including one seriously gigantic zucchini and a $3 container of squash blossomsa steal, I thought, for such a unique ingredient. Once I saw them, hiding inconspicuously near the checkout at one of the farmer's market stands, I knew just what to make with them: a frittata. Now, while zucchini and squash are on constant rotation in our kitchen, I had never actually used squash blossoms before. But I had seen an episode of the Cooking Channel show "Extra Virgin" many moons ago where Debi Mazar's hunky Italian husband, Gabriele, used them atop a gorgeous, light and fluffy frittata. In our house, G is the one who whips up frittatas for breakfast on the weekend. So on Easter morn, I felt it was my turn to return the favor.

Apparently in Italy, frittatas are not so much a breakfast food as they are a snack or lunch, which makes it perfect for an American brunch! And this recipe is super quick and easy, which, if you're anything like me and you appreciate your sleep, means you don't have to wake up early to create a surprisingly delicious and pretty dish to feed your family—or, in my case, your husband. This recipe is also ideal if you are serving guests: Everyone will be impressed with how good such simple ingredients (zucchini and eggs!) can taste.

You may roll your eyes when you read this, but you'll understand when you try it: This frittata tastes like spring and sunshine.

Frittata with Zucchini and Squash Blossoms
Recipe from Extra Virgin
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes
Makes 8 servings (or slices), or 4 if you're really hungry!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini (or 2 small zucchinis, or half of a gigantic one), diced small
6 eggs
2 tablespoons milk, or water (I used 2% milk)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pinch of fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 to 3 zucchini flowers (or more if you have them), cleaned, stamen removed and torn in half (optional)
Tuscan bread (any crusty bread will do), for serving

Heat the oil in an 8- to 10-inch nonstick sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and zucchini and cook until just beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the milk. Add the Parmigiano (a zester works great for grating) and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. (Remember, the cheese has a salty kick itself.) Stir until combined.

When the zucchini have softened, remove the pan from the heat and add the zucchini to the eggs.  Stir to combine. (Note: I let my zucchini cool for a few minutes, for fear of scrambling my eggs before they were even in the pan! Also, if you're wondering why you shouldn't just dump the eggs into the zucchini, it's because you need an empty pan for the next step.)

Add the butter to the same pan and swirl to melt. Add the egg and zucchini mixture and top with the torn zucchini flowers if you have them. I had more than just 3 flowers and I didn't feel like holding back—I decorated the top in a sunburst pattern, using as many squash blossoms as I could fit.

Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat until the edges of the frittata begin to brown and the center has set and is puffed slightly, about 8 to 12 minutes. You can also throw the frittata under your broiler uncovered for a few minutes like I did to help speed up the cooking process and get the top nice and golden. But watch carefully to ensure it doesn't brown; you want those beautiful yellow blossoms to shine through. 

To serve, slide the frittata out onto a cutting board top side up. Or, simply slice it up in the pan. Eat with charred and buttered Tuscan bread. We had a loaf of rosemary sea salt bread and it was the perfect accompaniment. 

I also spooned some marinated cherry tomatoes (halved tomatoes tossed in a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper) onto our plates because I have a thing for zucchini and tomatoes. They're best buddies in my culinary world.

One last side note: The leftovers save well! Pop extra slices in tupperware and put in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for a quick and tasty breakfast or lunch the next day.

[ Zucchini and shallot diced. Prepping the squash blossoms. ]

[ Unabashed usage of squash blossoms makes for a extra special, golden frittata. ]

[ The dogs and my hungry-but-patient hubby are always just out of frame in my food shots. ]

[ If you have leftover Parmigiano-Reggiano, make like snow and sprinkle on some extra. ]

[ The perfect bite. ]

As always, if you try out this recipe, I'd love to hear how you liked it! What's your favorite way to brunch? Are you a sweet or savory breakfast person? Savory always wins for me, hands down. I take care of the sweet factor with a mimosa. Cheers!

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