Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Apparently, "I" Like It

One of the few, unsung glories of working in (slaving to?) "academia" is a magical time of year called "intersession." You might know it as winter break. Ten glorious days off a work-a-day schedule, no pending paper deadlines, and if you're lucky, a snowy landscape against a kitchen that begs for some use and abuse. This recipe accounts for both. I got really into making breakfast over break (poached pears over french toast, a savory bread pudding that needs some revision), and this frittata was on the line-up. Maybe I was inspired by recent breakfast-y posts. Perhaps it was five days of listening to tapas mastermind Deborah Hansen demonstrate tortilla espa├▒ola to middle-schoolers. Or, more sheepishly, maybe great minds really do think alike.

Anyway, I fixed this beast up for breaky. Yes, I am white. Yes, I dig on breakfast (I know, I know, my whiteness is showing). I just DON'T get into "going out for breakfast," contrary to popular blogpinion. Five years in the coffee-filling, eggs-back-to-the-kitchen-sending business will do that to you. I'm delighted to cook breakfast when I don't wake up twenty minutes before I need to catch the bus, a luxury I had over break! The filling for this morning delight was inspired by one of the best dishes at my old restaurant, an apple and cheddar omelette. My friend John used to order it for his shift meal, but he'd up the ante by adding spinach (or sausage if we weren't sharing that day). Either way, it was a winning combination. The only trouble with my attempt was that I used a tragically UNseasoned cast-iron pan, and this mother burned like a 13-year-old's face in the "coming-of-age" talk. I peeled off the blackened bottom layer and salvaged the leftovers. My advice: oil the hell out of the pan and keep the heat to a very modest low after you add the eggs. You'll save more face than I (or your barely-pubescent self) did.

Apple, Spinach and Cheddar Frittata

6 eggs
splash of milk, cream, or non-dairy milk (anything with vanilla is lovely)
good pinch of salt a a grinding of black pepper

1 tbsp. butter

2 cups or more fresh spinach (baby leaves or stemmed grown-ups)
1 apple, cored and cut into small cubes
3/4 - 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I love Wisconsin)

*If you like your eggs plenty done, heat of the broiler and adjust your oven rack if needed.*

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt an pepper until the yolks are just broken an incorporated with the whites and milk.

Steam the spinach until just wilted... in a microwave, colander in a covered stock pot, or right in a saute pan, covered, with a couple tablespoons of water and a pinch of water. Squeeze of the excess water, then add the spinach, apple and cheese the egg mixture. Stir a couple times to mix.

Generously oil a deep-sided cast-iron skillet or saute pan. Heat over medium and add the butter. Rotate the pan to coat with butter as the butter foams. When the butter has just melted, add the egg mixture. Reduce heat to *low,* cover, and let the eggs cook for about 8 minutes. When you pull off the lid, the eggs will have puffed up and the top will be foamy. Slide onto a plate, cut into wedges and serve. If the frittata resists release, cover the pan with a plate an invert it. If you want a browner, more-done crust, throw it in the oven you've preheated and broil for a minute or two (no more). Serves 4-6.