Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Doing the Veggie Shuttle
What’s cooking? Fall Harvest Frittata

So I hope you all didn’t think I’d fallen off the roof or something. I had an unexpected trip back to New Jersey last week, and it completely threw me off course. The good news is that I took advantage of the occasion to make one final visit to the farmers’ market there, and loaded up completely.

A couple of weeks before that in Texas, I met a woman – another foodie – who used to live in Brooklyn. We got to chatting about the wonderfulness (and yes, I know that’s not a word) of the New Jersey/New York farmers’ markets. She told me she always takes an empty suitcase on return trips so she can stock up on her favorite foods. What a great idea. And while I didn’t take an extra suitcase, I did pack as efficiently as I could to allow room for a few items to help me extend the season.

When you think about it, an amazing number of foods will survive happily in a suitcase. I packed carrots, garlic, fingerling potatoes, haricots verts, radishes, three ears of corn, and a lovely head of orange cauliflower. Then when I realized that the hold where they store the luggage on the plane is cold, I added a couple of ziplock bags of lettuce (washed and pressed between paper towels). I kid you not. In addition, I carried on board a shopping bag with two more bags of lettuce, two boxes of blackberries, a box of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, and a bag of shiitake mushrooms. Oh, and the artichoke I cooked to eat for lunch on the plane.

I had planned to eat the artichoke at home, but somewhere in the packing process, I lost track of time, so I just put it in a plastic container on top of the mushrooms. Then, in a tiny moment of over-the-top-ness, I stopped at a place in Newark airport that sells salad and persuaded the manager to give me two of their small containers of dressing to dip the artichoke in. It was a great lunch, made even greater when the flight attendant said, “Is that an artichoke?”

So what to do with all that fresh stuff? Make a frittata, naturally. Regular readers will here raise a hand to say, “But you’ve done that before.” Right you are. And now we’re going to do it again, with different ingredients. I want you all to get how perfectly flexible these things are, so it can become your go-to dish as well. Almost anything you find in your fridge will work for a frittata. Say you usually include goat cheese (one of my fave ingredients), but you’re all out. Try light sour cream or yogurt. Or maybe some pesto. And you can trade around fresh spinach, arugula, watercress, or chard. Or frozen spinach. (Just cook it first and squeeze out the water.)  Really, any combination of whatever is available can work.

My first frittata post from 2010 – Thursday Frittata – had a sort of Italian theme, with bell peppers, yellow squash, and zucchini. The Corn and Tomato Frittata I posted a year ago had a southwestern flavor with cumin and cilantro. And now we come to what I’m calling Fall Harvest Frittata (for the alliteration). I made one for my son in New Jersey, using frozen spinach for something green. Back in Texas, I had no frozen spinach, but I did have a bunch of watercress. Just think outside the box – or maybe that would be outside the egg carton.

Kitchen Goddess note about fingerling potatoes: These little spuds aren’t always available, but when you see them, grab some. The skins are delicate, papery, and ultra thin – do not attempt to peel them. And the insides are creamier than any other potatoes you can find. They’re great boiled and sliced in salads, or (my preference) roasted with a bit of olive oil and rosemary. For this recipe, I used white and purple ones and sliced them thinly, because I wanted them to cook quickly. Great texture and flavor.

Fall Harvest Frittata

Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves roasted garlic, smashed (surely, after all my harrassing, you have some in the fridge)
8-9 ounces fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced (can substitute small new potatoes)
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
3-4 ounces watercress, large stems removed (or fresh spinach or fresh arugula, or frozen spinach cooked till almost done and squeezed dry)
kernels cut from one ear of corn
6 eggs, beaten
2 heaping tablespoons light sour cream (or goat cheese)
½ cup grated hard cheese (I used grana padano, but Parmigiano-Reggiano or even cheddar will do)
salt/pepper to taste

Preheat the broiler. In a deep, oven-proof skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Sauté the onion about 4 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. As you stir, pass the onion/oil up the sides of the pan to get a thin coating of the oil on it. This will help keep the finished frittata from sticking.

Raise the heat slightly and add the fingerling potatoes. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes. If you think the potatoes are sticking to the pan, add another teaspoon of olive oil. Reduce the heat back to medium, stir in the cherry tomatoes and the watercress, and cook, covered, another 3-4 minutes.

Remove the cover and add the corn. Combine the eggs with the sour cream or goat cheese, and  pour gradually over the vegetables to cover evenly. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Put the cover back on the skillet and cook another 4 minutes, until the eggs are well set (no jiggly parts when you shake the skillet).

Remove the cover, sprinkle on the cheese, and set the skillet under the broiler for 2 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown. Serve immediately.


  1. I love Frittata"s and what a great reminder to use everything you have in the fridge to make it seasonal. I also love that you brought home so much local produce, as I bring food home whenever I travel too. I guess it's just normal for food loving transplants. I have guests coming in this weekend, think I will be making them a Fall Frittata!

    1. So, Kristina -- maybe we should start a club for traveling foodies! Good luck with the guests -- I hope the rain lets up for you...