Friday, September 12, 2014

Frittata fiesta!

Frittatas are the most wonderful things. Easy, yummy, quick to make, and people will be impressed when you say you whipped yourself up a frittata last night. Because impressing people with food is what life is all about, after all.

Basically, a frittata is a dressed-up omelette pancake with some sort of starchy binder. According to Wikipedia, the Italian word "frittata" translates to "egg-cake". Classy, no?

I use rice or couscous most often, and pasta (especially spaghetti) cut up into small pieces works really well too and bulgur wheat will do in a pinch.

The best part about a frittata, though? You can use literally anything in the fridge that hasn't gone bad to make it. Last night, I used left-over couscous and chicken, the last quarter of an onion, and the rest of my cherry tomatoes. Didn't cost me a thing and it was delicious. Perfect college gourmet meal.

I've been watching my father make frittatas for years, and here is his fool-proof, fail-proof recipe. It is nearly impossible to mess this recipe up, because even if your frittata burns a little (like mine did yesterday), it only tastes even better.

Ingredients: (makes about an 8-inch diameter frittata, enough for 1 for dinner or 2 for sharing/leftovers)

2 eggs
1 cup cooked couscous/rice/bulgur wheat
1/4 chopped yellow onion
Olive oil
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
1/4 cup chicken (optional)
Any other vegetables/meat/cheese your heart desires

1. Combine couscous, any other add-ins, and eggs in a medium bowl and mix well. Desired consistency: runny but not too runny, similar in runniness to pancake batter

2. Put enough oil to sauté onions (about 1 tablespoon) in pan and heat over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add onions and stir occasionally. Once onions have become translucent, add cherry tomatoes and let cook for just a couple of minutes.

3. Use a spatula to position onions and tomatoes into the middle of the pan in a circular shape the desired size for your frittata. Pour the egg mixture in on top of the sautéed vegetables.

4. Adding the egg mixture will cause the onions and tomatoes on the edge to push out towards the sides of the pan. Use the spatula to press them back up against the frittata.

5. Let cook for about 10 minutes, or until you can smell the frittata and it slides around easily when you lift and tilt the pan. If you lift an edge, the bottom should be brown.

6. If using a gas stove, turn off the gas. If using an electric stove, you can leave the heat on or turn it off. Lift the pan and slide the frittata gently onto a plate. (I had to use a cookie sheet, as my pan was wider than the plates I have at my apartment. You want to be sure that your plate is the same width or bigger than you pan!) The raw side of the frittata should be facing up.

7. Turn the pan upside down over the frittata. Use a hot pad to hold the bottom of the pan. Hold the plate and pan together. Flip upside down so that the raw side of the frittata ends up face-down on the pan. (Don't despair if you don't get it perfectly the first time! It takes a while to master!)

8. Remove plate/cookie sheet and return pan to stove. Turn heat back on if turned off.

9. Continue cooking the frittata until it has fully cooked (see #5 for how to tell).

10. Turn heat off and slide onto plate. Enjoy!

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