Cast Iron Frittata
The current obsession of my palate is the salty savory flavor of feta and kalamata olives. I've played with and layered these flavors with veggies for a salad, with hummus and pita chips for lunch and with eggs, artichokes, garlic and tomato to make a frittata.
The Italian word Frittata, derives from friggere which translates loosely to "fried". A frittata was the cooking term for cooking eggs in a skillet; be they fried, scrambled, made into an omelette or to an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla de patatas; an omelette made with fried potatoes. A frittata differs from an omelette, in that it is not folded around ingredients, but is served open faced with the ingredients incorporated with the egg. It is similar in appearance to a quiche, except it doesn't have a crust and is started on the stove top and finished in the oven.
My current obsession in the kitchen is downsizing my cookware and tools; to a simpler more elegant set-up. I want to use equipment that is multi-purpose and when it comes to cooking pans, cast-iron takes the prize. Cast iron pots, skillets and ovens can be used with almost anytime of heat source. Using a dutch oven, you can bake a cake over a fire, you can fry, sautés, sweat, braise, stew and if you can't figure out how to make something using those methods, I got nothing for you. But if you have a cast-iron pan and are ready to try something new, read on...
I've had this particular cast-iron pan for about a year. I don't use it all the time, so it's been lacking seasoning. Seasoning is oil or fat that cooks into the cast-iron and makes it feels smooth and glassy. Growing up whenever we were in Fayette County, WV, there was an assortment of cast iron cookware. It usually hung on large old nails at The Farm and at the High Street house. I remember my Mother cooking biscuits in them, and my Uncle Ben teaching me how to make gravy. Any way, I noticed that it's getting that smooth glassy look and feel and I wanted to make a salty frittata, so I did.
I pre-heated the oven to 350, pre-heated the pan on the stove-top added oil and fried some sliced garlic until it was fragrant.
Then I added some chopped tomatoes, artichokes, green onion and frozen spinach.
Frozen spinach, is one of my favorite food hacks. I buy those big boxes of fresh spinach at the store and I've thrown many of them away, because I couldn't eat all the greens before they spoiled. I've thrown away way too many of them. Good intentions, be damned. My go-to hack is to just pop the box in the freezer. Unless you want it for a salad, you can use it for anything. The leaves freeze as-is, and you can use them for smoothies, soups and stir-fry's - easy peasy. I particularly love to buy them when they are on manager's special. It's the little things.
So anyway...after the veggies cooked...I whipped up 6 eggs. Whipping the eggs is key to making a frittata, as the more air you incorporate into the eggs, the lighter and fluffier your frittata will be. I don't add water, or milk. I just whip em, whip real good. Hehe.
I do spread out the veges and move them around the pan, to ensure that there won't be one bite full of tomatoes and then you never eat another tomato. Once the the veges are evened out I pour the eggs in and sprinkle feta on top. Then it's just a matter of leaving the pan alone.
Let the eggs cook, until the edges begin to set up, then place the pan in the oven. I bake it until the top is set, and I don't really want it browned, but you can place it under a broiler if you want to.
Removing the frittata from the pan is where you really experience the beauty and elegance of the seasoning. I use a silicone spatula to lift the frittata. There will be a few places where it's sticky, just use your spatula to keep lifting.
A quick word here about handling cast iron cookware that has been in the oven. Use an ovenmit or a folded thick dry towel. As sure as sh*t, right after I took this photo I put my bare hand on the handle. Fortunately it had cooled a bit and while my hand smarted and was a bit red, I did not get hideously burned. Unlike that time I was about 14 and baked cookies in a cast iron skillet at The Farm. Just as I wrapped my fingers around the handle my Mother's voice called out, "Don't use your hand, get a towel." But her words were moments too late and I spent the afternoon with my blistered hand in a jar of ice water.
Any way, this is what the pan looked like, after. I let it dry out, I'm not one to soak a pan. Once it was dried I used my silicone spatula to scrape it, then I took a wet towel and wiped it out. I added some oil and heated it on the stovetop for a few minutes. Once it cooled I wiped out the excess oil.
Thanks for reading and happy cast-iron cooking.