I woke up today and, just like that, it is spring. The air has lost its chill, the first of the jasmine is in bloom, the sky is the clearest highest dreamiest blue. A glossy fat lizard is sun-baking in our neighbour’s front garden, birds are singing on a wire, and I’m walking around in bare feet.
A short post today. I’ve had an emotionally draining week this one just past, and not nearly enough sleep. After a weekend of overcast skies and probably too much introspection, blue skies is what I needed to wake up to this morning. Too maudlin for a food blog? Perhaps. But there you have it.
On the bright side, we did have frittata. This lovely, bright yellow, delicious frittata.
Frittata is so easy to make, and yet for so long it was my nemesis dish. It would either come out too dry, or stick to the pan, or be bland. But after a fair amount of interwebs trawling, a little bit of cookery tinkering, and a stubborn determination to get it right, I finally nailed the ideal vegetable-to-egg ratio, and worked out that going from stove-top to oven yields the best results. And now it is smooth sailing frittata, baby.
This Leek & Zucchini Frittata is an ideal flavour combination. I’m the first to admit that there is nothing revolutionary about this dish; it is straight up frittata. Egg-y and salty-cheesy, with a very generous amount of green thrown in. All the good things. It is one of the easiest dinners to throw together, can be adapated to suit what you have lying around (swap out the kale for silverbeet, or the leek for pink onion, or the zucchini for cauliflower, just to name a few options), makes great leftovers, and is all kinds of tasty. And that bright yellow tinge in the photos? That isn’t saturation – it’s turmeric!
Leek & Zucchini Frittata
1 large zucchini
3 – 4 garlic cloves
4 – 5 leaves tuscan kale
1/4 cup milk or cream
100 grams goats cheese
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
Salt & pepper, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, to cook
Preheat the oven to 200°c/400°f.
Slice the leek into thin rounds, wash and set aside.* Slice the zucchini into thin rounds, stem and finely chop the kale, and peel and mince the garlic.
Heat an oven-proof pan over a medium-high heat, add a generous splash of olive oil, and fry the zucchinis in a single layer, flipping when the underside is nicely browned so that both sides are well cooked (about 5 mins. each side). Remove from heat and set aside. Add a splash more oil to the pan then throw in the leeks, stirring to coat in the oil. Cover, and let cook for a few minutes until the start to soften. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring regularly until the leeks are full softened and beginning to brown. At this point throw in the garlic and kale, turmeric, paprika, coriander and a generous grind of salt & pepper. Mix through and continue to cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, or until the kale is cooked through.
While the leek is cooking whisk the eggs and the milk (or cream) together in a bowl, along with a generous grind of salt & pepper.
When the leek and kale mixture is ready, pour the eggs over the top, rolling the pan to ensure even coverage. Add the fried zucchini to the top, and crumble the feta cheese over the whole lot. Cook on the stove until the edges begin to firm up, then transfer the whole lot to the oven and cook for a further 12 – 15 minutes, or until the top is firm.
Serve hot with slices of buttered toast, or a thrown-together arugula salad.
Notes: this will keep well in the fridge to enjoy cold for breakfast or lunch the next day.
* I find the easiest way to remove the gritty dirt from between the layers of leek is to out the sliced leeks into a big bowl of water, leave to soak for a few minutes, then drain in a colander.