05 April 2009

Brunch is Served...

As most people know by now, brunch is my favorite meal to prepare. It's so versatile; you can serve sweet, savory, meat, seafood, vegetarian, or any combination thereof.

Our friend, Jacque, had a dinner party Saturday night and served pasta primavera with a gardenful of fresh vegetables. She had lots of unused veggies after dinner was done. I had some grilled chicken left from my dinner on Friday, and that plus Jacque's veggies gave me an idea...

Fritatta (an open-face "Italian omelet") is one of the most simple yet sublime recipes in my repertoire, and it's so versatile that you can throw just about anything into it. Jacque's vegetables and a few left-over and fresh items in my fridge proved to be a marvelous medley for our mid-day meal. Here's the line-up:

Garden-Fresh Fritatta

large non-stick oven-proof skillet*
meduim bowl

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups zucchini, chopped into quarter-rounds
1 cup cooked spinach, chopped (I used left-over Parmesan-spinach dip)
2 cups blanched asparagus, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups grilled chicken, diced
12 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

*My skillet is oven-resistant, but its rubber-insulated handle is only oven-proof up to 300F. I learned this tip on Food Network: Wrap the handle with foil, shiny side out to deflect the heat. This will keep the handle safe for the few minutes it will spend under the broiler.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, and zucchini. Saute until almost tender, 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to low and add the spinach, asparagus, and chicken to heat. (Remember, they are already cooked, so we just need to warm them.)
  • Break the eggs into the bowl, add the cream, and beat with a whisk or electric mixer until frothy.
  • Increase the heat under the skillet to medium, then add the eggs. Stir them around as if you are scrambling them, and as they start to set, stir in the tomatoes, then stop stirring to allow the mixture to set.
  • Turn on your oven's broiler.
  • As the edges of the fritatta begin to dry (they lose their shine) and the center is still shiny and jiggly, turn off the heat. Cover the top of the fritatta with the shredded Parmesan.
  • Place the skillet under the broiler to set the center of the fritatta, and to and melt and brown the Parmesan, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from broiler and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Using your rubber spatula, loosen the sides of the fritatta from the skillet (because it's non-stick, this should be easy to do), then slide the spatula underneath the fritatta to loosen the bottom. Slide it out of the skillet and onto a cutting board.
  • Cut into 8 wedges and serve hot.

Bacon and biscuits make a great accompaniment, but the fritatta also stands proudly on its own. Break out the bubbly and blend the bloody Marys... Brunch is served!