Dueling Frittata Recipes by Richard Feldman

I believe that I was first exposed to frittata relatively late in life. I think that I ordered it as a breakfast special at the old restaurant at the Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe and then ate it as a brunch guest at a friend’s house. My first several frittatas were from a recipe for Onion and Herb Frittata in The Vegetarian Epicure: Book Two.

Although there is a recipe for “Frittata of Zucchini” on the page opposite the Onion and Herb Frittata recipe, I don’t think I really thought about zucchini frittatas until I came upon a recipe from the San Juan County Farmers’ Market Cookbook reproduced in an issue of the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association newsletter. I like combining two or more recipes for the same dish.

Vegetarian Epicure (VE)
San Juan County Farmers’ Market
1 1/2# firm, young
(4 1/2 cups, diced small)
2 medium, shredded
Onion 1 medum, chopped 1, chopped
Fat 3 Tbsp olive oil 3 Tbsp butter or margarine
Eggs 6 4 or 5
Salt, pepper, crushed basil
to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup Longhorn or Cheddar
cheese, shredded
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Milk (dash)

Both recipes say to use a skillet; I have a cast iron one that is just large enough. I follow NMFMA in sauteeing the onions (& garlic) first, but use some kind of oil (as in VE) instead of butter or margarine. After the onions/garlic seem partly done, I add the zucchini (or other summer squash), which I have shredded in my food processor. I’d guess that I typically have around three cups of the shredded squash, which I like to place first in a collander to drain off the excess water that will seep out (I sometimes but not as often do this with the chopped onion also). Both recipes say to cook the zucchini until tender; VE also says that the onions should be golden.

I mix separately either five or six eggs with the dash of milk, salt, pepper, and dried or chopped fresh basil, depending on if I have fresh around. Both recipes agree to add the egg mixture, lower the heat, cover, and cook until the eggs are set (at least 20 minutes at Santa Fe’s altitude). At this point, NMFMA wants to add the shredded cheese and finish off baking at 350 degrees, while VE says to use a plate to flip the frittata, then cook it in the skillet a few more minutes. A brunch guest during one of my early efforts suggested a third method, which I adopted and continue to use: Turn on the broiler and place the skillet containing the frittata underneath the flame for a few minutes (I’m not sure how this would work with an electric broiler element). Unless I forget, I sprinkle some of whatever shredded cheese I happen to have around on top before doing so.

I tend to serve the frittata ten or fifteen minutes after it comes out of the broiler, although VE recommends serving it at room temperature. VE claims that the recipe yields six servings, but I think that I get closer to four. It’s fun to vary the type of squash; NMFMA suggests additional variations, such as adding mushrooms or peppers to the onions and garlic, and adding toppings. Unfortunately, my trusty food processor was incapacitated by an accident earlier in the year, and replacing it has not gone smoothly, so the frittata in the picture was the only one that I made this year.
Photograph by brunch guest Sharon Niederman.

2 thoughts on “Dueling Frittata Recipes by Richard Feldman

  1. I saw your article yesterday, and it gave me an idea of what to do with all those little bits of vegetables I have left from a summer that has been so bountiful. I won’t be using 6 eggs at a time as I’ll be making smaller ones. And I whip up two eggs with some non-fat cottage cheese to pour over the suated veggies – then cover it and let it puff up till it’s firm. I’ll be having a different kind each day…all week.
    Love your recipe articles. Merrill

  2. For the first 8 months I was married, The Vegetarian Epicure was the only cookbook we had–and we were very happy that we’d remembered to pack it before we left for Germany. It is one of the more reliable cookbooks I’ve ever had. Nonetheless, I would have to go with NMFMA on this one–cheese and eggs are one of the great combos out there.

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