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I made this asparagus frittata last spring while in Rome. Allesandro, my friend and produce vendor in Campo de Fiori, the huge open air produce market in the historical center of Rome, showed me wild asparagus he had foraged the night before. It took him all night to collect 2 kilos.
That’s Allesandro in video episode showing me those skinny wild asparagus that quickly went into a frittata for my mates back in our apartment near Piazza di Spagna.
I found some really thin asparagus at the farmers market. They reminded me of the frittata I made in Rome and I had to make it here in San Francisco.
I roasted the asparagus with olive oil and sea salt to intensify its bright flavor. This is a thinner frittata than I usually make because I want the egg mixture to just hold the asparagus together and let the concentrated springtime flavor shine.
Serve frittata as a part of your antipasti or as a light lunch or dinner with a salad and a hunk of crusty bread. When I’m not in the mood to cook frittata is my go to recipe. It’s ready to eat in less than 30 minutes. Buon appetito!
Put the asparagus on a cooking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Toss the asparagus to cover them all with the oil.
Roast in the oven until the asparagus begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Turn them at least once.
Take the asparagus out of the oven and when cool cut them on the diagonal in 2-inch pieces. Set the asparagus aside.
Add the eggs to a large bowl and beat them well.
Add the asparagus, parsley, grated cheese, ½ teaspoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and mix all the ingredients well.
Put a 9-inch cast-iron or saute pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Swirl the olive oil so it coats the sides of the pan well to avoid the sides of the frittata from sticking.
When the oil starts to ripple the add the egg mixture to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
As the frittata begins to set stir the bottom of the frittata with a fork. With a spatula lightly pull the edge of frittata away from the side of the pan. Genly slide the spatula under the frittata. Be sure the frittata is loose and moves easily when you shake the pan.
Place a plate over the pan and flip the pan so the frittata ends up on the plate.
Slide the frittata back in the pan.
Finish cooking the frittata until it is solid.
(If you don’t want the flip the frittata, finish cooking it in a 375 degree oven until the top sets and browns.)
Slide the frittata onto a serving plate and serve immediately or at room temperature.
Spring is taking hold so I thought I’d make something to celebrate, an egg pie with tender, thin asparagus.
Actually “La Squadra”, is gathering at my house for lunch. My Rome and Naples traveling companions and I need to finish planning our final week in Campania next month.
The frittata is part of my antipasti course, along with buffalo mozzarella from Campania and thinly sliced cappocolo cured locally. We could be in either Roma or Napoli. This spring egg pie is popular in both cities. It’s popular with me too.
Don’t be intimidated. Making a frittata is not that hard. You can watch me making a frittata. If you don’t want to flip the frittata just finish it in the oven.
Frittata is a tasty antipasto or serve it with a salad and it’s lunch.
The golden frittata crust is nutty. The parmigiano perks up the tender, moist interior. The grassy, sweet asparagus scream spring has arrived.
In anticipation of tomorrow night’s Academy Awards I cooked up some Oscar-worthy eggs this morning.
Ever see Norman Jewison’s 1987 movie about a Brooklyn Italian-American family? “Moonstruck” won Oscars for Olympia Dukakis and Cher.
There’s a kitchen scene where Dukakis is making these eggs for herself and Cher.
“Moonstruck” eggs were a popular item on my restaurant’s brunch menu. There’s no better combination than peppers and eggs. We served them with roasted pork and fennel sausage.
In Italy this dish is known as “birds in a nest”. They are super simple and they make a big impression for that special Saturday or Sunday morning. Add your favorite potatoes and breakfast meat and that’s it.
A Roman friend’s son Luca shot a video of Claudio, the chef/owner of Osteria Dar Bruttone making spaghetti alla carbonara, a classic Roman pasta dish. I had to share it with you.
Claudio is passionate about Roma and about its food. His osteria in the San Giovanni neighborhood where he serves simple traditional Roman fare is popular with locals and tourists alike.
Claudio beams as he talks about the virtues of the most beautiful city on earth and Roman culinary tradition, a vital part of Roman life. Walk with Claudio as he shops in the markets near his osteria for the food that he will cook at his restaurant that day.
The spaghetti alla carbonara video is in Italian but even if you don’t speak the language watch it anyway. The shots of Rome, the markets and the kitchen techniques are priceless. Everyone I know who watched the video, fluent in Italian or not, had to make spaghetti alla carbonara right away. Here’s my translation of Claudio’s recipe for you to enjoy in your kitchen.
Spaghetti alla carbonara only has 4 ingredients and is ready to eat in the time it takes to cook the spaghetti. Search out guanciale. It’s integral to the dish. (In a pinch you could use pancetta.) Use a dried durum wheat pasta extruded through bronze dies imported from Italy so the sauce will cling to its rough surface. Don’t be shy with the black pepper. Use pecorino for it’s more robust flavor, not parmigiano.
The spaghetti takes on a golden hue. Creamy, silky sauce coats every strand. Rich pecorino flavor plays off salty, crispy guanciale and black pepper tickles your throat with every bite.
Frittata is a versatile dish and you can make it in less than 20 minutes start to finish. Use whatever ingredients you want to make it your own. Here I use some of my favorites. Browned potatoes and onions are the base. Fresh mozzarella, roasted sausage, grated pecorino, and chopped parsley enhance the egg mixture.
Make yours vegetarian. Saute a couple of your favorite veggies to bring out their flavor. Roasted asparagus or sauteed zucchini work well too. Let the sauteed vegetables cool before adding them to egg mixture. Prosciutto or ham are good substitutes for the roasted sausage. Fontina or another soft cheese can replace the mozzarella. Or just use grated pecorino, parmigiano or grana padano.
Serve frittata for brunch or dinner. A side fruit or green salad completes the plate. Frittata is a nice addition to an antipasti platter too. However you serve your frittata make sure you have enough left over so you can enjoy frittata panini (sandwiches) later on.
I use a well-seasoned 11-inch cast iron pan for my 10 egg frittata. Non-stick saute pans work well too. For my smaller 9-inch cast iron pan I use 6 or 8 eggs. If you are anxious about flipping the frittata to cook the second side use an oven-proof pan and put it in the oven to finish cooking.
The golden crust is nutty and the frittata is cooked through but still a moist on the inside. Enjoy a mouthful of flavor in every bite.
Every once in a while when I was growing up in Jersey my father asked my mother to make a simple Friday night dinner – eggs fried in olive oil. It was one of my favorite meals. The eggs take on a lacy edge and a nutty flavor from the olive oil.
I kicked this one up a couple of notches – shaved Italian fontina cheese melted on top, garlic bread, an edible flower and baby greens salad. I just sprinkle the salad with EVOO, a syrupy Balsamic vinegar and sea salt. I don’t even mix the salad. I like surprises – sometimes you get a drop of the sweet vinegar with the EVOO and salt – sometimes not.
Don’t be skimpy with the oil – the eggs should almost float when they hit the pan. Make sure the olive oil is starting to ripple before the eggs go in. Here’s how they should look before you finish them off. See that lacy golden edge? That’s what you want.
Once the eggs set lower the heat shave on some of your favorite cheese and put the cover on for a minute to melt the cheese and finish cooking the yolks.
While you’re cooking the eggs grill some good rustic bread, scrape one side with raw garlic and drizzle with some EVOO just before serving.