Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Summer, So It Must Be Zucchini Time

This frittata is one of those dishes that's more than just the sum of its parts. It's a good way to use a generous amount of zucchini, it's a nice lower-fat vegetarian main dish, and is very tasty. The tomato side is optional but is a nice piquant contrast to the creamy greenness of the frittata, and rounds out the plate well.

The original recipe (from Eating Well) calls for fresh marjoram, but really you could use just about any herb or herb combination. The last time I made it I used a dried Italian herb blend, of course using only 1/3 of the amount of the fresh herb called for. To boost the heartiness of the dish and to provide some starch, I added a bit of cooked potato to the mix. I prefer to use grape, cherry, or plum tomatoes for the side; regular "slicing" tomatoes are too juicy and break down too much in the saute. Finally, since I was cooking for just me, I cut the recipe in half, using a medium well-seasoned iron skillet. If you use the non-stick skillet called for, be sure that it's one that is oven safe.

Zucchini-Ricotta Frittata with Warm Tomato Garnish
adapted from Eating Well

1 1/2 pounds zucchini, coarsely grated
1 1/8 tsp salt, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Monterrey Jack cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh marjoram (or other herbs)
1 cup cooked diced red or white boiling potato (optional)
2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

for the garnish:
2 1/2 cup chopped tomato (preferably grape, cherry, or plum)
1 medium shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram (or other herbs)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Toss zucchini with 1 tsp salt in a medium bowl; put in colander to drain for 20-30 minutes. Rinse briefly and squeeze dry.
  2. Whisk eggs with pepper and remaining salt in a large bowl. Stir in cheese, herbs, and cooked potato (if using).
  3. Preheat broiler.
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until water evaporates (5-6 min). Add to egg mixture, stirring to mix well.
  5. Wipe skillet clean and return to medium-high heat. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in the skillet, then add egg mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Dollop ricotta over the top.
  6. Cook until eggs are set on bottom but the top is still wet (5-7 min). Transfer skillet to broiler and broil until done (3-5 min).
For tomato garnish: Toss all ingredients together. Cook in a skillet for a couple of minutes, until warm and releasing juices.