Monday, November 5, 2012

Squash and Kale Frittata

I’m still in a rut of sorts, I guess. No post for days and days. I finally get something simple and seasonal and delicious on the table and it’s still more days and days until I can write it up. Still, for all its lateness and simplicity this frittata with butternut squash and kale is nothing to be ashamed of.

I based this on a recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine, but the original recipe had more eggs and sweet potatoes instead of squash. I pared the number of eggs to four, since I’ve had success making quick frittatas that way and I just didn’t have the energy to mess with things too much. I really think sweet potatoes and winter squash can be used almost interchangeably with some variation in cooking times and slight flavor changes. (Usually sweet potatoes are sweeter than squash in my experience.) The kale was a cinch to acquire, since there’s still some alive in my garden despite the many frosty nights.

After selecting my seasonal ingredients, I simply held to basic frittata theory and all was well. Once my onions, squash and kale were cooked, I poured over an egg mixture flavored with Dijon mustard. I like to partially cook the eggs in the pan, then put the pan under the broiler, but not right up to the broiler. I think I originally did this in hopes of causing less stress on my nonstick pan, but I like the way the frittata “bakes” a good distance from the broiler as well. Of course I wasn’t putting this in the oven at all until I sprinkled it with a generous portion of feta cheese.

You could really vary this simple dish many, many ways, even using leftover roasted vegetables or roasted vegetables and sausage or any kind of cooked greens. I was pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors in this particular variation. Squash and kale, perhaps both being autumnal in nature, complement each other well. I added a chile pepper for extra punch, but you wouldn’t have to if you don’t like it. The subtle zing of the Dijon mustard is quite nice enough to enhance the dish without any added spice.

No, I’m not ashamed of this dish at all. For its somewhat rustic simplicity, it’s quite fabulously flavored, nourishing and satisfying. With any luck, this quick fix will get me out of the doldrums caused by workday weariness and darkening days so I can post about more good stuff more often!

Winter Squash and Kale Frittata with Feta
Based on a recipe in Vegetarian Times magazine

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium chile pepper, minced
12 ounces winter squash (I used butternut), peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
¾ teaspoon coarse salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 large eggs
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 large curly kale leaves
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Heat the oil in an oven-proof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes, or until softened and beginning to brown. Add the minced chile pepper and cook about 1 minute more.

2. Add the squash, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Cook, turning occasionally until the squash is softened, but still firm enough to hold its shape, about 20-25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, combine the eggs, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, milk and Dijon mustard. Whisk together until lightly beaten and well combined. Set aside.

4. Preheat the broiler and place a rack just above the middle of the oven. (I like to heat the frittata from above, but not place the pan so close to the broiler.) Remove the thick stems from the kale and discard. Finely chop the leaves. Add to the squash mixture when the squash is done. Cook until the kale is well-wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

5. Pour the egg mixture over the squash mixture, keeping the squash mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring just a little and gently, until the egg is set around the edges of the pan. The middle should still be runny. Evenly distribute the feta cheese over the top of the frittata.

6. Place the frittata in the oven and bake (with the broiler) for 8-10 minutes until the egg is firm throughout and the frittata is lightly golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings.


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