Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brunch Part 3: Vegetarian Frittata

On to the main courses... the egg dishes. Or, rather, "why I love love love my nonstick skillet."

You love something more when you've lived without it, you know. And once upon a time my husband and I decided it was the right and moral thing to do to get rid of our toxic nonstick skillets and have only cast iron and stainless steel cookware. The decision was a good one except when we cooked eggs. Unless you (a) use an unseemly amount of butter or oil, (b) don't mind wasting half of your omelet, (c) have an extra sink lying around for long-term pan soaking, or (d) use a nonstick skillet, eggs can be v. tricky. After two years of egg-induced frustration, we caved and asked for a 12-inch nonstick skillet for Christmas. Santa came through in 2009, and I think our guests reaped the benefits of his chimney-diving labor this weekend. But for our fancy nonstick skillet, you see, the recipe below wouldn't have even been contemplated. And the word on the street was that it was very worthy of contemplation.


Leek & Swiss Chard Frittata with Tomatoes and Cheese
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen, incidentally one of the most beautiful food blogs out there
Yield: a 12" frittata, to serve about 8-10 people

1 large bunch swiss chard, leaves and some of the stems coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, thinly sliced
10 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
cayenne pepper
dried herb mix (e.g. Bouquet Garni)
salt & pepper
1 cup grated, good-quality cheese (I used goat's milk colby jack cheese)
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Rinse and drain the swiss chard. In a large, oven-proof nonstick skillet (I used an All-Clad 12" skillet, as recommended by America's Test Kitchen), sauté the swiss chard with the water that stuck to the leaves after rinsing it. Cover the pan and steam the chard until just wilted. Remove the chard, squeeze out as much liquid as possible, and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 5 minutes.

While the leeks are cooking, crack the 10 eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the milk, a few dashes of cayenne, salt and pepper, and about 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs. Using a handheld mixer, blend the eggs and milk until fully combined. (You can do this with a whisk, but it will take a while, so if you don't have or are opting out on using a mixer, do this step before cooking the leeks.)

Once the leeks are softened, turn the burner's heat to low, spread the leeks out evenly in the skillet and gently pour the egg mixture on top. Evenly distribute the swiss chard and shredded cheese over the leeks and eggs and let cook for a minute or two. Run a heat-proof rubber spatula along the outer edge of the frittata to prevent sticking. (This part is cool. Ah, the wonders of non-stick!) Once the frittata starts to firm up a bit, layer the tomatoes on top. Place the whole pan in the 450 degree oven on top rack and cook for about 8 minutes. When finished, the frittata will be firm but will have some give when you push gently on the middle. Let cool for a few minutes.

Because I didn't want a knife to touch my precious nonstick skillet (and you shouldn't either!), I waited for the dish to cool a bit and then removed the frittata from the skillet by running a spatula around the edges to loosen it, and then gently tilting it onto a cutting board. It worked out nicely.

The presentation and ease of this dish are noteworthy. The evening before the brunch, I sliced the leeks, cleaned and steamed the swiss chard, and grated the cheese. Everything else was done on Saturday morning after many guests had already arrived. It came together quickly and beautifully. While I actually did not personally try it (I don't care for goat cheese), I received many compliments on it and appreciated its aesthetic appeal. It was gorgeous. I'll be making it again for sure, but next time with cow's milk cheese so that I can enjoy it with my mouth as well as my eyes.


  1. It sounds and looks lovely!
    BTW: did you see the recipe for Kale chips in Smitten blog????

  2. Ha! I did see the kale chips. I'm sure those will be a staple in our household within a few weeks...