Sunday, 14 May 2017

Recipe corner: A spring frittata

I always think of frittata as the slightly coarser cousin of the omelette. An omelette, to my mind, is a delicate, buttery thing with minimal ingredients. A frittata is far less rarified and a fantastic way to showcase whatever produce happens to be in season (or lurking at the bottom of the fridge). I once read that it is not the done thing to treat a frittata like eggy waste disposal but (and I feel the same way about pasta bakes) sometimes throwing in whatever you happen to have on hand produces a thing of great beauty and, even if it doesn’t, it will be perfectly and agreeably edible.

For all that, here a little bit of advanced consideration has been applied to produce something that sings of the season. I first saw a recipe for this particular combination in a Waitrose magazine, but have tweaked the method slightly to suit.

Cook's notes: if you asparagus is very slender, you probably don’t need to worry about pre-cooking it but we've been getting some MONSTER stalks here. You could switch out butter for oil if you don’t want to faff around with melting it but I do happen to think that when butter and eggs are brought together, good things are bound to happen. With regards the herbs, I used dill because I love it, but any of the softer, milder, greener herbs (parsley, basil, even mint) would also work – your rosemarys and sages and thymes would probably overwhelm. Your frittata dish could be a large, ovenproof frying pan or a cake tin (NOT loose bottomed) would work fine - I plumped for a 24cm Le Creuset pie dish which was PERFECT.


250g new potatoes, thickly sliced
Bunch of asparagus
15g butter
Tsp dill
Heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
6 eggs
75g Gruyere cheese, grated

Serves 2 - 4

Heat the oven to 180 (160 if, like ours, your fan oven is somewhat enthusiastic).

Put the new potatoes in a large pan, cover with cold, salted water and bring to the boil over medium heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus by snapping off the woody ends and chopping each stem into 2-3 cm lengths. Set a large bowl of ice cold water to one side. Once the water has come to the boil, set a timer for 6 minutes and, once it goes off, add the asparagus to the same pan for a further minute. Then you can drain and put straight into the cold water to stop the cooking.

Melt the butter (the microwave is probably the easiest option for this). Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat the inside of the dish.

Drain the vegetables, pat dry and evenly distribute across the bottom of the dish.

Whisk the eggs, season well and stir through the mustard and the herbs. Pour over the potato and asparagus mix and then place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, sprinkle over the cheese and return for another 15 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbling and the frittata is cooked through.

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