Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Frittata from the stuff in the fridge

Even when the fridge seems nearly empty, you probably have the ingredients to throw together a frittata.

Frittata from the stuff in the fridge

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Sometimes, especially after a long day, the most satisfying meal is one that doesn’t require a trip to the store. Indeed, everyone needs a few recipes that can be pulled together, even when it seems that there is nothing in the fridge. Or when the few ingredients on hand are nearing their expiration dates. As a lovely package of Baby Bella mushrooms stood out in my nearly empty refrigerator, I thought to myself: frittata.
This simple egg dish, also known as a “flat omelet,” is essentially the same concept as an omelet — eggs and vegetables and cheese — but the frittata is so much more approachable for the beginning cook.
Indeed, its beauty lies not only in its simplicity, but also in its flexibility. It accommodates many leftovers, and is a great vehicle for those hunks of cheese or vegetables waiting for their useful moment.
A leftover wedge makes for a tasty lunch, and a frittata made in advance can be a simple substitute for sandwiches when eating on the run.
I have fond memories of a frittata I made for a picnic at my oldest son’s college graduation, to tide over the starving family when I realized we’d have to go from one long ceremony to another without time in between for a stop at a restaurant.
For this recipe, I used the mushrooms that I had, along with a mix of grated Parmesan, Jarlsberg, and some crumbles of a mild French feta, also left in the fridge.
But do use whatever vegetables are on hand in your fridge, whether it be spinach, zucchini, onions, red peppers, or the like — just saute them before you add then to the eggs. A little leftover ham or prosciutto is also nice, and blends well with cheddar, Swiss, or even, if you are feeling indulgent, a bit of Brie.

 Mushroom and Cheese Frittata
 Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil), divided use
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin (one-pint package)
6 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup grated cheese (I used a mix of Parmesan, 
Jarlsberg, and mild feta, but almost any cheese will do)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Turn on the oven to 500 degrees.
2. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. (Be sure to use an ovenproof skillet.) Add the mushrooms and cook until they are brown. (I like mine well-done, but that is a matter of taste.) Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Melt the second tablespoon of butter in the pan.
4. Add the grated cheese and mushrooms to the beaten eggs; season with salt and pepper to taste, and gently stir.
5. Once the butter is melted, add the egg mixture to the pan and cover. Let the eggs cook, without stirring, until they are set in the pan (between 5 and 10 minutes) leaving only the top uncooked. When the edges start to brown, it’s time to turn off the heat.
6. Transfer the skillet (uncovered) to the hot oven for about 5 minutes, or until the top is browned and puffy.
7. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly. Cut into wedges and serve.
Per serving: 252 calories, 15 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 20 grams fat, 301 milligrams cholesterol, 227 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber. 

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