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Lynda Balslev: Eggs for dinner

Lynda Balslev
Columnist

 

Frittatas are not just for lunch. If you are looking for dinner in a pinch, these eggy dishes can be prepped in minutes, making use of the contents of your veggie drawer, or even last night’s leftovers, for inspiration.

A frittata is a light and fluffy baked egg dish, a hybrid of an omelet and a quiche. It is crustless and requires baking in the oven. Simply saute your vegetables first, then add an egg and cream mixture enriched with cheese for flavor and richness.

Ground sausage, cubed pieces of ham, even leftover chicken can be added to the mix for a meatier frittata. Or keep it light and green with vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach or, in the case of this recipe, asparagus. Asparagus is available throughout the summer. While it’s tempting to throw the spears on the grill or steam them with lemon, they are a great addition to egg dishes. They also make for a lovely presentation.



Choose nutty or sharp melty cheeses, such as Parmesan, Gruyere or cheddar, to add flavor and oomph to the dish. After all, if you are adding the cheese, you should be able to taste it. Sauteed onions or leeks sweetly balance the earthy greens.

A frittata can be made in advance and served warm or at room temperature, which is conducive to a sweltering day. If you have a cast-iron skillet, you can even cook it on the grill to keep the heat outdoors.



Asparagus Frittata

Prep time: 15 minutes

Baking time: about 25 minutes

Yield: Serves: 4 to 6

12 ounces asparagus, medium-thin thickness

8 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream (or 1/4 cup whole milk plus 1/4 cup heavy cream)

2 to 3 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts thinly sliced and rinsed

2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Fresh herbs for garnish, such as thyme, mint or chervil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard. Trim the asparagus tips to 3 to 4 inches in length and set aside. Chop the trimmed stalks.

Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in the cream, Gruyere, salt and pepper.

Melt the butter with the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft without coloring, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and saute until bright in color, about 1 minute more.

Pour in the eggs and gently stir to evenly distribute. Carefully arrange the asparagus tips in a spoke pattern on the eggs without submerging. Sprinkle the Parmigiano cheese over the top.

Transfer to the oven. Cook until the frittata is set and golden in spots, 20 to 25 minutes. It will puff up while baking, then set as it cools. Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with fresh herbs.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area

A frittata can be made in advance and served warm or at room temperature, which is conducive to a sweltering day. If you have a cast-iron skillet, you can even cook it on the grill to keep the heat outdoors.
Photo by Lynda Balslev

 

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