Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Squash Frittata with Fresh Basil

One of my favorite summer dishes are frittatas, which can be enjoyed at any meal of the day. When the heat wave broke for a couple days in NYC this past week, I took the opportunity to use the god forsaken oven, and bake a summer inspired frittata. I love to eat them warm right out of the oven, or cold right out of the fridge. With a simple side salad, they make a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Frittatas are a great way to use up any leftover veg you may have tucked away in your refrigerator. You can add just about anything to the egg base and voila, you have a meal made! I first made this summer squash frittata with some leftover vegetables I had from cooking ratatouille. Now I look forward to it every season. 

There are many different techniques to making a good Italian frittata. They can be done entirely on the stovetop and flipped in the pan, started on the stovetop and finished in the oven, or the simplest method is to bake them in the oven from start to finish. The last method is the one I've used here; it's fool proof and keeps you from being glued to the stove. Most importantly, it comes out perfect every time. Light, fluffy, and delightfully eggy. Experiment with all types of leftover vegetables and meats. The possibilities are endless!

Adapted from Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, sliced into 1/8-inch thick half-moons
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small zucchini (about 6 ounces), sliced into 1/8-inch thick coins
1 small yellow squash (about 6 ounces), sliced into 1/8-inch thick coins
8 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
10 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-inch saute pan (non-stick works great for this if you have it) over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and a sprinkle with a dash of salt. Reduce the heat to low and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly brown and caramelized, about 25 to 30 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more. Transfer the onions and garlic to a plate or sheet pan and set aside to cool.

Wipe out the saute pan you used for the onions and garlic using a paper towel. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the zucchini and yellow squash, sprinkle with salt, and toss occasionally until lightly golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the squash to the plate or sheet pan with the onions, and set aside to cool. Drain off and discard any oil or liquid that has accumulated in the pan. 

In a large bowl, use a whisk to beat the eggs. Add the salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the onions and garlic to the eggs and mix with a fork to incorporate. Next, add 1/2 cup of the parmesan and mix again. Gently fold in the cooked squash and torn basil.

In the same saute pan you used for the onions, garlic, and squash, and the butter and melt over medium heat. Swirl it in the pan to coat it. As soon as the butter stops foaming, but before it begins to color, pour in the egg and squash mixture. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the eggs are just set and no longer runny in the center. Remove from the oven, slice, and serve immediately. 

Makes 8 servings

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