Saturday, February 20, 2010
I was single and living in New York when I bought my first cookbook. Unlike Nora Ephron, I didn’t get mine from my mother. When I left home in Texas, the only things I could actually cook – i.e., using heat – were hard-boiled eggs and canned soup. Among cold dishes, I could also make tuna salad. I approached kitchen life with all the enthusiasm of a Christian in the Coliseum.
But I was newly employed and living in Manhattan, and hard-boiled eggs and canned soup doth not a life make. And I really missed scrambled eggs. I couldn’t bear to call my mother for advice: she thought the stories of my incompetence in the kitchen were the stuff of stand-up comedy and worthy fodder for the neighborhood coffee klatch. My dad also cooked a lot of eggs, but my brother and I had always referred to the result as “flat eggs.” Not too appetizing, and certainly not anything I was eager to replicate. So I called my aunt, trusting that she’d be discreet and that the resulting scrambled eggs would be fluffy. She explained the process carefully, even as to how much was “a little” milk. (Though these days, I use water, to better effect.) I followed her instructions to the letter, and, lo and behold: scrambled eggs. I was joyous, triumphant, even – dare I say it? – egg-static.
I’m a lot more comfortable with eggs these days, but whenever I make a dish that’s heavily egg-oriented, I remember those days and the joy of my own scrambled eggs.
So last night was one of those nights when I needed to pull dinner together quickly, and for speed, economy, and nutrition, there’s nothing like a frittata. They’re delicious, too, and the variations are endless. You can follow the gist of the instructions below, substituting your own selection of veggies, including mushrooms, and use whatever cheese strikes your fancy.
Thursday Frittata (serves 2, with leftovers)
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Tbl dried oregano
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 c shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat the broiler. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for about 5 mins, then add the garlic and sauté 1 min more. (Kitchen Goddess tip: Don't burn the garlic; burnt garlic tastes bitter.) Add the other vegetables, stirring to combine well with the onion and garlic and olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5-7 mins.
While the veggies cook, whisk together the eggs, oregano, cayenne, and salt/pepper in a separate bowl. When the veggies are ready, spread them evenly around the skillet, and pour the egg mix over them. Cover and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 8 mins, or until the eggs are set around the edges and almost set in the center. Remove the lid, sprinkle the cheese over all, and place the skillet under the broiler. Cook until the cheese is bubbling and the eggs are completely set, about 2 mins. Cut into wedges and serve with fruit or a salad and a crusty bread.