Monday, May 13, 2013

Frittata pro rata


I say Frittata, you say... Frittata. Any way you say it, it’s a simple to make complete meal that makes sure that all of the yummy ingredients are proportionally distributed. (Pro rata as in the Latin adjective, meaning “in proportion”.)

The Frittata has both Italian and Spanish origins (we’ll let them fight over the rights to that), but what you include really makes the dish. By definition, every Frittata includes eggs as the binding ingredient and I almost always include potatoes in some form. The inclusion of eggs doesn’t require that Frittatas only be served as breakfast fare. I started making Frittatas as a weekend way to use up leftovers from the prior week’s kitchen creations. I make them when I haven’t done any particular ingredient shopping or just to use up whatever is on hand, but with a little forethought a Frittata can become a masterpiece of themed creativity.

This particular breakfast recipe is designed to help you with the basics and then I’ll provide you with variations on the theme in the Tips and Trending at the end of the post. One of my more selfish reasons for making a frittata is the cleanup – one pan!

Frittata pro rata
Serves: 4     Preparation Time: 10 Minutes     Cooking Time: 20 Minutes


• 4 Slices Bacon, cut in ½” pieces
• ¼ Cup Onion, chopped
• ¼ Cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
• 3 Cups Shredded Russet Potatoes, prepared for Hash Browns
• Kosher Salt
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
• 5 Eggs, beaten
• ½ Teaspoon Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce
• 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Heat a 10” non-stick, oven-proof fry or chefs pan over medium heat, add Bacon pieces and cook until crisp, but not crumbly. Remove Bacon from pan, reserving the drippings in the pan, and drain on paper towel.

Step 2. Reduce heat to low and add the Onion and Green Bell Pepper to the pan and cook briefly, just to soften. Make use of the moisture released by the vegetables to deglaze any stuck on remnants of the Bacon. Use a slotted utensil to transfer the Onions and Peppers to the paper towel to drain with the Bacon, still reserving the drippings in the pan.

Step 3. Increase the heat to medium-high and add half of the prepared shredded Potatoes. Season lightly with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper and spread the drained Bacon, Onion and Peppers evenly across the layer of Potatoes. Add the remaining half of the shredded Potatoes and season lightly.

Step 4. Use a flexible pancake turner to press the Potatoes down and then go around the edges to press any Potato shreds into the mass. Spread the 1 tablespoon of Butter on the sides of the pan around the edge of the Potatoes to add a bit of fat around the sides. Reduce heat to low for 4 minutes.

Step 5. Whisk the Tabasco sauce into the beaten Eggs and pour the eggs over the Potatoes, starting in the center and spiraling outward. Sprinkle the shredded Cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the Eggs and cover the pan and cook for another 4 minutes or until the mixture is beginning to set.

Step 6. Turn on broiler. Remove the cover and put the pan in the center of the oven about 8 inches from the broiler until the cheese is golden brown.

Allow the Frittata to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer it to a serving plate. Cut into wedges to serve.

Frittata in pan

Tips and Trending

~ A frittata, like an omelet, should be served with the eggs still somewhat loose. However, preference takes precedence and so you should serve this however it pleases your palate.

~ Sunday dinner leftovers make for some great Sunday night frittatas.

~ Eggs are the only constant in frittatas and as I said earlier, potatoes in one form or another will find their way into most – but not all. Consider using leftover pasta, with or without sauce, in place of the spuds. Rice, in any of its many forms and preparations, also performs admirably.

~ If you choose to add potatoes, mix it up by forgoing the hash brown variety and sautéing some chunks or dices or slices. Dollops of mashed potatoes with chunks of roast beef and chopped green beans surrounded by creamy eggs all covered with gravy is an unusual but really tasty alternative use for Sunday dinner leftovers!

~ Leftover pasta, with or without sauce clinging to it, is another easy frittata fix. If the pasta is unsauced; heat a little olive oil in the pan first and then sauté the pasta. Add some of the leftover Italian sausage, sliced Braciole or whatever and toss to warm though. Pour the eggs over and add some grated cheese. Cook as above and serve with some of the original pasta sauce, reheated.

~ If you’ve got leftover rice and stir-fry vegetables and/or meat you can make an Egg Foo Frittata. Get the picture? You’ll want to make a simple gravy to go with this one so here’s how: Heat a cup of low-sodium stock (any kind) in a small sauce pan along with ½ tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet®. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of cold stock. When the hot stock and soy sauce mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cornstarch slurry. Simmer slowly until thickened and then remove from heat so it doesn’t break down and thin again. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.

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