Friday, August 14, 2009

Zucchini Frittata

I spy with my little eye, something that begins with "Z."

You guessed it. It's zucchini, and I'm falling behind in the eating of the lovely stuff we've received in our CSA boxes over the last few weeks. What to do, oh, what to do?

Actually, I have a lot of ideas for zucchini, beyond quick bread, and I like trying out something new to keep from resenting the bounty of these beautiful summer squash. And I love it when something new comes to my rescue, especially when it's in the form of a new pan! I recently received a beautiful new nonstick pan with an ovenproof handle that is just perfect for making a frittata. (I have another pan that can pull the duty, but it's much too big. Thanks for the new one Sherry! I love it!)

If you're not familiar with it, a frittata is kind of a cross between an thick, unfolded omelet and a crustless quiche. You can put just about anything in it: vegetables, herbs, potatoes, even leftover cooked rice or pasta. There are two ways to make sure the top of the frittata is cooked and not just a mess of runny eggs. You can flip it over in the pan, typically with the aid of a plate. I'm just not that talented. Okay, so I've done it, but I'm always terrified of disaster. Who wants to be all stressed out when making glorified scrambled eggs?

Me either, so I like the second method, which is to use an oven-proof pan (with and oven-proof handle) and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes. Now, my new pan came with some nice information, including a warning that I shouldn't put it under the broiler if I wanted to keep the non-stick coating from deteriorating. I compromised by putting the pan on a lower rack to do my broiling. I still get the heat from above, just not as intensely. I've read that you can cover a pan handle that is not oven-proof with aluminum foil and put it in the oven, but I have not tried this myself.

So frittata it would be. Zucchini frittata (not to be confused with Hakuna matata, but still a wonderful phrase none the less), and I could hardly wait. Neither could the zucchini, which, in case you didn't know, doesn't last forever. I sauteed zucchini and fresh onions (also from the CSA) and allowed them to stand as the foundation for the frittata. After that, it was simply a matter of pouring some beaten eggs flavored with cheese and herbs over the top and cooking it gently. I find that most of the herbs in my container garden go well with zucchini, so it was just a matter of selecting the one that was getting most out of hand (just like the zucchini). I chose orange mint for this dish. It has a citrus (also good with zucchini) hint to it, reminiscent of Bergamot, of Earl Grey tea fame.

When the eggs are almost done, the whole thing goes under the broiler to finish cooking and to brown on top. Actually pretty easy, especially with the right equipment. I love my new pan! I could go on about it for a while, but, if you'll excuse me, I spy some more zucchini that requires my attention.

Zucchini and Mint Frittata with Tomatoes on Top
If your zucchini are large, cut them in half (at least) before chopping them. You could use another kind of cheese such as Parmesan, or perhaps even aged cheddar or Gruyere.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound small zucchini, cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (I used "orange" mint)
3/4 cup chopped tomato

Preheat broiler.

1. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet with an oven-proof handle over medium heat. Add the zucchini, onions and salt and saute about 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft and the zucchini is beginning to brown. Stir frequently.

2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk using a whisk (or a fork). Stir in the cheese and mint. Reduce the heat under the zucchini mixture to low. Pour the egg mixture over the zucchini mixture. Stir the mixture gently, lifting the zucchini and cooked eggs to allow the uncooked portion contact with the heated pan (much the way you might cook scrambled eggs).

3. When the eggs are nearly cooked, place the tomatoes on top and place the pan under the preheated broiler, on the middle rack in the oven. Broil about 5 minutes or until the top is set and beginning to brown.

4. Remove from the oven and shave or grate additional Romano cheese over the top. Allow to stand about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges (use a plastic spatula or something like that so you do not scratch the nonstick surface of the pan!) and serve.

Makes 4-6 main dish servings.


  1. Looks yummy! Too bad I'd probably be the only one to eat it... :( Gotta get my kids more acclimated to different things!

    Just a thought on another use for the Z things: stir fry with onions etc (pick your veggies as you have them) and chorizo. Add water to help get everything cooked through (steam w/ lid to help) and then add corn starch to thicken. Pour over rice & serve.

    Not as pretty as what you made ( :) ), but yummy!

  2. That sounds great! I love chorizo (one of those things that will always keep me from going fully vegetarian!)

    Also, if you are feeding pickier eaters, you could try something cooked potatoes in place of the zucchini. The flavor may be more familiar, and you could leave out any herbs or other flavors that aren't so popular.

    Frittata is so quick and easy that everyone who is super-busy should try it for week-night meals.