Continuing in our weekend of spending time together in the kitchen, Justin and I took on the "white whale" of my cooking career -- the frittata. A frittata is an egg dish, similar to a crustless quiche or a very thick omelet, that is served sliced into wedges. I've enjoyed eating them ever since we made a baked version (that I have long since lost the recipe for) in home economics class in middle school, but so far in my life, successful preparation of this dish has remained elusive.
My most notable frittata failure dates back to my senior year of college. I was attempting to make a tortilla española (basically, a frittata with fried potatoes and onion), the night before I was scheduled to take the GRE. Leery of trying to flip the frittata and cook it completely on the stove, I opted for the alternative method of starting it on the stove and finishing in the oven. Distracted with stress over the exam, I failed to make the connection that the handle of the pan would be hot (having just come out of the oven), because it was sitting on the stove (where pan handles remain cool to the touch). I picked up the pan by the handle, and burned the shit out of the palm of my hand, causing me to cancel my exam the next day.
Subsequent attempts, though free of physical harm, were uniformly lacking in the deliciousness department. I was so fearful of flipping the frittata and making a mess, that I tried several different techniques to avoid it, none of which yielded a palatable entree.
Despite my lack of success, I was unwilling to give up. When I was hunting for new dishes to try, I was drawn to two separate frittata recipes. One, which I made last week, featured corn, green onions, potatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Although I wasn't crazy about the flavor combination (the corn was too sweet and it overwhelmed the other components), the recipe was a success in that it helped me overcome my fear of flipping. I still made a huge mess trying to do it for the first time, but it was the most well-browned, properly cooked frittata I'd ever produced, even if it was still a bit aesthetically lacking.
Hence, this week, I was willing to try again. This time, I picked a recipe that called for potatoes, onions, and dark leafy greens, all things that Justin enjoys. The original recipe called for kale, but Justin and I were unable to locate any in the produce department at the grocery store, so we went with fresh spinach as a substitute. Graceful as ever, I managed to burn myself with a spatter of cooking oil as I slid the onions and potatoes into the skillet, so Justin did the lion's share of the cooking, whereas I stepped in only to flip the frittata. In spite of my injury, the practice had really helped, and I flipped the frittata without incident, producing the most attractive one to ever grace my stove.
It was also quite tasty, and the cold leftovers made a tasty addition to my lunch in the following days. We had it for breakfast, but it would also make a lovely lunch or light dinner, paired with a salad. Go ahead and give it a try -- the flipping isn't nearly as scary as I had believed for so many years, and with a little practice, you'll be producing perfect frittatas of your own.
Potato and Kale Frittata
adapted from Serious Eats
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 c. kale, chopped (we substituted fresh spinach)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Pour the olive oil into a large cast-iron skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and potatoes. Cook, stirring carefully and occasionally, until the onions brown and the potatoes are tender. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Toss in the kale and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.
2. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together. Pour the eggs into the skillet. Smooth mixture out with a spatula. Cook for about six minutes, until the edges are cooked but the middle is still runny.
3. Slide the half-cooked frittata out of the pan onto a plate. Carefully place the skillet upside down over the frittata, and quickly flip the entire thing, so that the runny side of the frittata is against the bottom of the pan. Cook 5-6 minutes more until well browned.
4. Slide the frittata onto a clean plate, and cut into six wedges for serving.