Breakfasts tend to be an on-the-go affair around here, even though my morning commute is only from the kitchen to my studio/office in the next room. I’m committed to modern scratch cooking, but even so, there’s fast scratch and slow scratch. Weekdays find me defrosting some berries to go with homemade cereal, granola or oatmeal, or enjoying a dish of chia seed pudding, like this or this, or a smoothie. On weekends and special occasions, though, there’s something both soothing and celebratory about taking the time to make a dish that requires more thought, then lingering over it and a second cup of coffee at the table.
Any dish based on eggs is wonderfully variable, and frittata is no exception. It can be a carnivore’s dream, like this hearty sausage and potato version, or a vegetarian dish offering nutritional virtue along with great flavour, like the frittata that starred at my holiday breakfast table today.
There’s something meditative, soul-satisfying even, about dicing vegetables with no schedule and a sweet early spring breeze gently making its way through the window. Easy steps from fridge to counter to stove — no pressure, no rush — peeling and dicing, the sound of the knife cutting crisply through the vegetables and thunking against the cutting board … such are the rhythms and sounds, the pleasures, of a relaxed kitchen.
Freestyle Kitchen Vegetarian Frittata with Turmeric
© Marlene Cornelis/Urban Cottage Life.com 2017
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
Imagine a colourful heap of fragrant minced shallot (half of one large), red chili pepper (1 whole) and garlic (2 cloves), accompanied by finely diced red bell pepper (half of one) and butternut squash (two 1/2-cm slices) sliding into an 8-inch skillet with heated olive oil (about 1 tablespoon). A sprinkling of ground turmeric (1 teaspoon) adds not only its intense, unique flavour and vivid gold colouring, but anti-inflammatory benefits too. A grinding of fresh pepper (using the pepper mill is one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen) and a good pinch of kosher salt, because seasoning is so important, and then the vegetables cook over medium heat, with the occasional stir, while I prep the eggs.
In this case, I used a blend of three whole eggs and 3/4 cups of egg whites (yes, from a carton — so handy, and no waste), making the frittata a little leaner but still protein rich. I love whisking eggs with a fork until the whites and yolks have blended into a harmonious, sunny whole. Sunshine meets greenery with a small handful of chopped cilantro. I season the eggs with salt and pepper.
Before adding the eggs, I make sure the vegetables have softened and aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, adding another teaspoon or so of olive oil if needed. Then I pour the egg and cilantro mixture over top, and cook for a few minutes, gently pulling cooked egg up from the bottom of the pan with a spatula. When the mixture is starting to look like very liquid scrambling eggs, I slide the pan into the oven.
My frittata was beautifully cooked through without being dry after only 20 minutes. Time enough to make a pot of coffee and get the table ready.