Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday Do-Little Dinners: Oven-Baked Frittata

The best kind of dinner option is one that you can throw together with whatever you have on hand and know that it will never fail you. Today's Do-Little Dinner is one of my best go-to suppers: I almost always have the basic ingredients (eggs, milk, cheese, onions) on hand, and the rest is flexible--meaning, I can finally use up that bendy celery or that barely-hanging-on spinach in the crisper drawer, and no one will be the wiser. In fact, they'll gobble it up!

Traditionally, frittatas are egg dishes that are cooked start-to-finish in an ovenproof skillet--first, on top of the stove; then, in the oven--and served cut into pie-shaped wedges. But if you're like me, you don't have time to hang out in the kitchen monitoring the broiler, and to do so would no doubt invite a visit from the fire department, seeing as how you'd be called away at a crucial moment to empty the potty chair or rescue the baby from tipping headfirst over the back of the couch, and, well--those broilers go from bubbly-brown-and-delicious to flaming-kitchen-accident in about ten seconds flat. All of which is a long way of saying I've adapted this recipe into a walk-away-and-do-something-else kind of baked egg casserole.

I routinely make this recipe during the girls' naptime and just reheat it at the dinner hour; our family currently follows a crazy schedule that involves squeezing my run, dinner, the baby's bath, and nursing all into a 90-minute period when Christopher gets home from work, and having a pre-cooked entree ready to go helps me out a lot. It works just fine to do that. Leftovers are tasty for lunch the next day too.

**An important note about servings and ingredients:
How many does this recipe serve? I don't know; it depends on how many eggs you put into it and how big you like your pieces. Use 1/2 cup milk for every four eggs, and go from there to your liking. I generally use six eggs and 3/4 cup milk; I cut the pan into six or eight pieces. You do what you like.

And the ingredients? Truly, whatever you have and like, in whatever quantities you prefer. The ingredients list below is a suggestion--the basics, as it were. Feel free to add just about any chopped fresh vegetable (except tomatoes--they will be very watery in your eggs) and/or any frozen veggie you have around. I routinely throw in things like potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, carrots, green beans, broccoli, etc.--and have even used frozen corn and peas. It's all good. Really. The more vegetables you add, the bigger, thicker, and heartier your frittata will be. But you can make it with just onions, potatoes, garlic, eggs, milk, and cheese, and that works just as well. And if you don't have potatoes on hand, you don't have to use them, either--just go with the other veggies you have, and it will simply be lighter fare.

Oven-Baked Frittata

1 T. olive oil or butter
2 onions, sliced thinly
2 potatoes, sliced lengthwise and then crosswise into thin pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
Any other fresh or frozen vegetables you like (see note above), in smallish pieces--such as carrots, celery, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, spinach....pretty much anything, in any amount as long as it all fits into your skillet
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste--you'll get a feel for this with time, but don't skimp on the salt, especially if you're using potatoes. I don't measure, I just dump some in, so I don't know an exact amount, but I'd say it's probably at least a tsp. if not more.
Eggs: I recommend 6 or 8
Milk: use 1/2 cup milk for every 4 eggs
1/2 cup any variety shredded or crumbled cheese (we like cheddar or feta the best)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil or butter in large skillet over medium heat and add all vegetables, garlic, and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft--you can cover the skillet if you like to make this go more quickly. The time involved will depend on what and how much you are cooking--maybe 10-15 minutes?

Spread vegetable mixture into an oiled 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Beat eggs and milk together in medium bowl, then pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese, and a little extra salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the egg is set and the top is golden and bubbly.

Serve with something easy--bread and butter, a green salad, or some fresh fruit.


Rob Hardy said...

Okay, here's a freaky coincidence: this is exactly what I made for dinner last night (using spinach, dill, and feta cheese). It was delicious. I got the recipe out of the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, which is full of quick and easy vegetarian meals.

Christopher Tassava said...

As the Chief Eater in our household (as measured in volume of dinner consumed, not proportionally to bod size, in which case Vivi would win, thanks to hummingbird diet), I have to say that this frittata is delicious - nine ways to fantastic. I myself like to spritz on a little Tabasco sauce or even a shot of good mustard to heighten the flavors, but it's very good as-is.

Shan said...

Oh! Rob is reminding me: I think that Moosewood Cooks at Home cookbook is where I originally got this recipe (I don't follow a recipe for it anymore). Oops! Credit where credit is due.

Rachel M. said...

Found your recipe on google and used it as the basis for my first frittata today! I love how this meal will just let you use what you already have. I used olives, tomatoes, onion, and a leftover turkey brat for my "insides". Delicious! Thanks!