Weekends are when most people can take the time to slow down a bit. We’re not rushing to get the kids to school, and then get to work, then rush back home to pick up the kids, make dinner, and perhaps have an hour to unwind. Whatever your routine is during the week, the weekends are when we usually have more opportunity to slow down.
For me, Sunday is the perfect day to meet with family and friends for brunch or invite them over. One easy way to feed a lot of people is making a frittata. Whether it’s rustic or elegant, it’s a great way to either get rid of leftovers from your fridge or make something special for a festive event. Make sure you use a baking potato or one that is starchy because you want the outside potato layer to get crispy. I tried this recipe with sweet potatoes and it went all mushy. Also, DO NOT put your potato slices in water overnight or for any length of time ~ it will spell disaster for your dish. I tried doing this one time, thinking it would save time for the morning assembly ~ good thing I had an extra potato at home. The potatoes will curl up and get too rigid. Good for fries but not for this recipe.
Your best friend in this recipe will be a mandolin. You can get these anywhere, either online or in your favourite kitchen store. My all-time favourite is the Benriner Japanese Mandoline Slicer usually priced between $50-$80CND at, of course, Placewares in the St. Lawrence Market. What’s great about this gadget is that it is compact, the blade really keeps its edge and you can control the thickness of what you are cutting from thick to paper thin. I have purchased more than one of these mandolins as a gift for family or friends.
This particular frittata is layered in a non-stick frying pan and looks like a cake when you turn it out onto your favourite serving dish or cutting board. Make sure you have all of the ingredients prepared in advanced so that you don’t end up burning the potato layer before you get everything in the pan.
SUNDAY BRUNCH FRITTATA
What you will need:
28cm (11 inch) non-stick frying pan (if the handle is plastic, wrap it with aluminum foil)
1 large Russet or baking potato
2 medium onions (sliced very fine)
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
15 ml or more (1 tblsp or more) Herbes de Provence (or thyme / tarragon / oregano, whichever herb you prefer)
15 ml or more (1 heaping tbslp) of Koslik’s Triple Crunch mustard
200-300 grams (7-11 oz) shredded extra old white cheddar cheese (approx. 470 ml or 2 cups)
300 grams (11oz) goat cheese
250 grams (8 oz) sliced smoked ham
2 handfuls of arugula
½ roasted yellow pepper
½ roasted red pepper
For the onions:
- Slice the onions very thinly. Heat up your frying pan, add oil and fry onions until golden.
- Add a splash of balsamic oil and cook for 2-3 more minutes
- Remove onions from pan and set aside
For the peppers:
- Cut your peppers in half, remove seeds and stems and place cut side down on a cookie sheet.
- Broil in oven until skins begin to blister (you can also roast them on a grill but keep an eye on them so they don’t go up in flames).
- Remove from oven and once they are cooled enough to handle, place in a ziplock bag.
- Peel skin and slice or dice them up. Set aside. You can either use both peppers or save half of each for another recipe. It just depends on how much pepper you would like in the frittata
For the ham:
Cut your ham either in cubes or if you are using already sliced ham, cut the slices in three and shred
For the egg mixture:
- Add eggs, herbs and mustard to bowl and whisk
- Stir in cheese
- Set egg mixture aside
For the potato:
Wash potato and slice very thinly. I like to keep the skin on.
NOTE: Cut up your potatoes last because they will oxidize and turn black if left uncovered for too long. Don’t let them sit in water either because they will curl up and not lay properly when you place them in the pan. I made the mistake of slicing them the day before and putting them in water ~ big mistake. Make sure you use a starchy potato. I tried this with sweet potatoes but they get soft and mushy. You want a potato that will get crispy.
- On a medium setting, heat your pan and put a good amount of olive oil in the pan
- Start placing your potato slices in the pan, overlapping them and either start at the center of the pan and work your way out, or start at the outer edge and work your way in. Make sure you overlap each potato by at least half.
- Use the larger slices for the outer edge and gradually use smaller slices as you get to the centre.
- If you notice that you have quite a few slices left, push the potato ring out so that the potatoes go slightly up the sides of your pan
Start making your layers
- Spread the onions on top of the potato layer
- Add ½ of the peppers
- Add ½ of the shredded ham
- Add ½ of the goat cheese
- Add the arugula
- Pour the egg mixture over the top (if it looks like there’s not quite enough egg to mostly cover everything, just crack a couple more eggs, whisk them and add)
- Add more peppers
- Add more shredded ham
- Add more goat cheese
- Cook on stovetop until you see the edges of the egg mixture turning white and getting firm
- Place in 165˚C (325˚F) oven for approx. 30-45 minutes
- Check the frittata at 30 minutes. Jiggle the pan a bit and if the centre jiggles too much and looks undercooked, put it back in for another 10-15 minutes. The centre will be the last to cook completely through and you’ll see what I mean when you get to this point.
- If the frittata still looks uncooked after 45 minutes and is getting very brown, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil on top and bake for another 5-10 minutes
- The frittata is cooked when you jiggle the pan a bit and the centre doesn’t jiggle anymore.
- Remove pan from oven. Place a serving dish or cutting board over the top of the frying pan and carefully turn over.
You may also want to try the following combinations:
~ Roasted asparagus and peppers with salmon, capers and dill or tarragon
~ Roasted chicken with feta, olives, oregano and cooked spinach
~ Instead of Cheddar Cheese, try Swiss, Emmenthal or Monterey jack
~ Instead of Goat Cheese, try Blue Cheese, Brie or Riccotta
The possibilities are endless…