Monday, August 26, 2013

Frittata is the answer

The question, of course, is "What can I make with summer squash that would be a good hot weather dish?"

Here's what I did with some some my excessive amount of summer squash that's now coming from our garden. I had looked through a great cookbook I have on how to use the vegetables in your garden, but for squash there were only recipes for salads or soups(!?).

Since my favorite kitchen challenge is to make tasty meals of stuff we already have (rather than finding recipes and then going and buying the ingredients), I rummaged around and found - in addition to the squash - a tomato that was going to go bad if I didn't use it pronto, some onions (my motto for cooking is "start by cooking an onion in some olive oil..."), a tin of smoked clams, and some eggs.

So here's what I did:
1. Start by slicing an onion finely and cooking it in some olive oil (true to form!) on medium heat. I used a 10" pan, so if you use a smaller pan, reduce the ingredients to fit the pan.
2. Slice at least 3 smallish squash very thin - you could probably use up to 5 squash in the frittata, depending on their size - but I just took the 3 that needed to be used soonest.
3. When the onion has cooked enough to get soft, add the squash to the pan. If you slice too much squash and realize that it won't all fit, set aside some for tomorrow's meal.
4. Break 6 eggs into a bowl (could be up to 8 eggs if your pan - and the crowd you're feeding - is big enough).
5. Add a pinch of coriander to the eggs, a couple of shakes of the original Tabasco (the best for eggs, if you like them a bit spicy), some salt and pepper, and if dairy's okay for you, a small pour of milk or half and half (this makes the egg mixture thicker and smoother).
6. Once the squash has softened up a little (not too much!) add the tin of smoked clams with their oil to the pan and turn the heat to LOWEST.
7. Slice the tomato thinly and add to the pan (the tomato isn't necessary, but it looks nice)
8. Add the eggs, making sure that the egg mixture spreads over the contents of the pan.
9. Cover the pan (I'm too lazy most of the time to do the trick of turning the frittata, so having the pan covered ensures that the top gets cooked).
10. Leave it for 5 minutes and check to see if the top is solid yet. If not, check every couple of minutes until you've got a solid top.
11. Let the frittata sit for at least a few minutes or up to a couple of hours with the top on. This dish is great warm, cool, or cold.
12. Serve it up!

Some changes that would work well:
You could add some chopped up garlic to the onions. If you do that I would forget about adding the coriander to the egg mix - the flavor is too subtle to stand up to garlic.

You could use thyme instead of coriander to season the eggs.

If you don't have a tin of smoked clams (but why not? They're so versatile!), you could use any leftover meat you have, or substitute some grated cheese (any kind) for the meat.

You could also add chopped olives if you don't use smoked clams - they would give the frittata a distinctive flavor. But don't put them in with the smoked clams because the flavors would probably work against each other.

Putting in some chopped parsley would be a pretty addition too.

Since we usually eat only one thing per meal, the two of us ate the whole frittata in a single sitting. If you add a green salad and some crusty bread, both of which would go really well with this dish, there would be enough to serve 4 adults, or 2 adults and 4 children.

Buen provecho! (the spanish version of "enjoy!")

NOTE: this post is dedicated to the two of my granddaughters who love to cook the most: Ayla and Brenna.

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