Friday, November 13, 2009

Potato Frittata

I wish I could say this was a spontaneous dish made with lingering leftovers and some other things I just happened to have on hand, a great breakfast that I threw together with what I had laying around, the equivalent of a fabulous special occasion gown that you just brush off as, “Oh, this old thing?” It should have been, but it wasn’t. I planned this potato frittata in advance.

It all started with an abundance of potatoes (more bounty from our CSA) and an old podcast of The Splendid Table. Lynne Rossetto-Kasper was teaching a caller, step by step, how to make a Spanish-style frittata (or tortilla as it is known in Spain), and it made me hungry. I’ve made frittata before, such as this Zucchini Frittata back when zucchini was in style (now it’s so three months ago). This one, I would make with a bed of fried potatoes with bacon, green onions, and cheese. And so, a few days ahead, I boiled some extra potatoes when we were having mashed potatoes for dinner, and I went shopping for the bacon and onions.

I used all the same techniques as I did in the Zucchini Frittata, except that I first cooked the bacon, rendering the fat, some of which I used to cook the potatoes. I also used one less egg, which was due to bad memory and lack of record checking more than anything else. In hindsight, perhaps the added bacon and bacon fat may have made up for the missing egg, at least as far as fat, calories, and life span go. You could skip the bacon and just fry the potatoes in oil or butter.

This really could be a spontaneous dish, depending on what you have in abundance or left over. You could use leftover cooked pasta or vegetables in place of the potatoes. I’m even wondering how good leftover Roasted Vegetables would be. While we had this for breakfast, it really is appropriate for any meal. It is quite inexpensive and could be a last minute dish. Unexpected company? Don’t panic, just whip up a frittata with leftovers and you can greet the oohs and ahhs over your genius with, “What? This old thing?”

Potato and Bacon Frittata Recipe
Consider boiling, baking or roasting extra potatoes next time you serve them, and keep them on hand for quick frittatas.

3 strips thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
3 medium cooked potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 eggs
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, finely chopped
¾ cup shredded Colby-Jack or other easy-melting cheese, divided
2 tablespoons minced parsley

1. Cook the bacon in a 10-inch nonstick skillet with an oven-proof handle over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat from the pan.

2. Add canola oil to the pan. Add the potatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook the potatoes over medium heat until they are golden brown. Stir or turn the potatoes occasionally to brown on all sides. This will take some time, perhaps 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs with the milk using a whisk or a fork until well blended. Stir in remaining ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, green onions, and ½ cup cheese. Crumble the bacon and stir that in also.

4. Preheat the broiler and place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. When the potatoes are golden brown, reduce the heat under the pan to medium low. Add the egg mixture. Stir gently and cook until the eggs are set around the edges of the pan. (The middle will still be runny.)

5. Top the egg mixture with the remaining ¼ cup cheese and place under the broiler on the middle rack in the oven (this allows the frittata to be heated from the top, but not too intensely). Broil about 5 minutes or until the top is set and beginning to brown.

6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley. Allow to stand about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Makes about 6 servings

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