FARE WELL FOR A PICNIC by Karen Tedesco
Make a frittata and be prepared for any summertime dining situation.
Allow me to introduce you to a magical Italian recipe. Say hi to your new friend: the incredible, edible frittata.
This particular frittata is baked, which makes the method a little different from the more common stovetop version. It’s filled with a pound of fresh asparagus and some creamy, tangy goat cheese.
And it couldn’t be easier to make. Bonus point!
The recipe is based on egg whites, soft goat cheese and a splash of cream. All you need to do is to stir the ingredients together in a bowl, pour the mixture into a baking dish over sliced asparagus and pop the whole thing into the oven.
The magical thing about this recipe is that it produces a tender, protein-packed frittata that will serve you well in a variety of situations.
In essence, a frittata is an omelet in another language, and it’s one of the most humble, down-to-earth dishes you can make.
Just like an omelet or quiche, a frittata can be filled with any number of tasty, meaty-cheesy-vegetably things, including odds and ends from the fridge. It’s the ultimate meal solution for a slew of occasions. So many possibilities!
But there’s a difference. Compared to a picture-perfect omelet or quiche, a frittata is totally unfussy by nature. It’s supposed to look a little bit rustic, with a golden, slightly craggy top.
Right up there next to scrambled eggs, a frittata is the most democratic of egg dishes.
That’s because the person making it doesn’t need to have fancy cooking-school skills such as folding (the classic French omelette) or pastry making (more French, as in quiche).
My frittata is made with egg whites only (no yolks), so it turns out as fluffy as all get-out, with a silky-smooth texture.
Nothing wrong with yolks, but omitting them here yields an exceptionally light and good-for-you dish that happens to be vegetarian, gluten-free, low in carbs, high in protein and of course, full of fresh asparagus.
Serving ideas for Baked Asparagus Frittata
Slice the cooled frittata into bite-size squares and serve as an appetizer along with glasses of chilled white wine or prosecco.
Pack into a container to take along on a summer picnic or to the beach.
Serve as a light supper or brunch dish, either warm or at room temperature, accompanied by crusty bread and a simple green salad.
Put leftover frittata in the fridge for future enjoyment as breakfast, lunch or as an on-the-go snack.
Karen Tedesco is a recipe developer, food stylist and photographer living in Maplewood. For seasonal recipes and more, visit her website, FamilyStyleFood.com.
Baked Asparagus Frittata with Goat Cheese
Serves 6 - 8
1 pound asparagus, tough lower stalks trimmed
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 quart container egg whites (4 cups)
¼ cup heavy cream
4 ounces soft goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a 3-quart baking dish.
Set aside 5 or 6 whole asparagus spears. Chop the rest into ½-inch pieces. Arrange the chopped pieces and the shallot in the bottom of the dish.
Whisk the egg whites, cream, cheese, chives, ¾ teaspoon salt and about 8 grinds of black pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Pour into the baking dish. Arrange the asparagus spears on top.
Bake 30-35 minutes, until the frittata is puffed, golden on the edges and the center is set.
Cool about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.