Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring Asparagus Frittata with Mixed Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

Frittatas share the billing with scrambled eggs in my book. Each is fairly flexible with regard to handling and each can assume a unique flavor profile depending on how the pairing options go. They’re kind of the chameleons of the egg world: give them a good mix of flavor to work with, handle them with a little respect, and they’ll be kind of whatever you want them to be.

While there are various camps on just the right way to handle a frittata… from strictly over the stove to varying degrees of stovetop and oven finish… I like to camp with the side that takes the easy path.  That’s what makes frittatas such a great option for a quick, easy and delicious brunch or an easy breakfast-for-dinner pick. And… I truly don’t think you have to have a gaggle of campers to opt for a frittata. It’s a doable and delicious option for two (or even one). Selecting the right size pan will allow for an acceptable density regardless of whether you are feeding twelve or two.

With a frittata you can add whatever rings your bell. Go south-of-the-border with onions, peppers, tortilla chips and cheese; go classic with roasted potatoes, bits of crispy turkey bacon and green onions; the choices are unlimited.

The key is thinking of the ingredients and how you want them handled to optimize flavor… sautĂ©ing onions and peppers, for example, before adding the eggs.

In this spring-inspired plating, I roasted the asparagus just a bit before adding them to the mix because I wanted that flavor and texture to come through in the finished dish.  And, because I was making a fairly small frittata, I amped up the “fluff” quotient by enhancing my three-egg mix with two frothy egg whites and a little dotting of a tofu-based cream cheese (regular cream cheese would be great too). And, while we’re not at the height of tomato season, I did find a nice little mix of mini heirloom tomatoes at the market… a perfect little tumble of fresh, bright flavor to contrast the satisfying comfort of this frittata.

And… given my penchant for electing the easy camp when it comes to frittatas, I get it going on the stove and quickly transfer it to the oven to finish up. It makes making frittatas such a great, easy option… more time for whatever kumbaya time that floats your boat. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spring Pea-Pesto-Tomato Bruschetta Sandwich with Fried Egg & Arugula

Mind your “peas and cues. “

I’m taking a bit of liberty here but this personal twist of phrase curiously reflects my stance on peas. 

In general, I’m not a huge fan of peas unless they’re freshly shelled and cautiously prepped to retain their bright pop of flavor and bite. No mushy peas for me. For the most part, peas just don’t often appear as a side dish in our home… there are just too many other veggies vying for my attention. And frozen peas? Well, let’s just say that they spend a good bit of time hanging out in the freezer. They're just not my bag.

This is where the “mind your peas and cues” comes in. My stance on frozen peas (and peas, in general) went right out the window when I tried a simple little salad by Ina Garten that pairs frozen peas (thawed out) with a good tangle of fresh spinach, a few generous dollops of basil pesto, and a little sprinkle of toasted pine nuts. That’s it. It’s crazy good and too easy to pull together to be considered such.

It was from this simple little flavor profile that I took my cue. This little bruschetta sandwich combines much of what that great salad offers and it pretty much takes the cake on flavor. It’s simply frozen peas combined with a good handful of fresh baby spinach, a large clove of garlic, a drizzle of fresh lemon juice, a few fresh basil leaves, a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts, a dash of kosher salt and pepper, and a little turn of extra virgin olive oil. A quick whirr in a food processor and… voilĂ … you get perfection. It’s truly so good you could eat it right out of the processing bowl.

But wait. Slathered over thick slices of fresh rustic bread crisped up to crunchy goodness in a hot oven, topped with thinly sliced rounds of ruby red tomato, and sprinkled with a few leaves of peppery arugula and the whole thing moves up a rung on the goodness ladder.

Then… being exceptionally mindful of these peas, lay a fried egg over top and move it all up another notch. So good.