Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Frittata and Sausage

We have already discussed sausage, but I felt I had to include it in the title for the sake of the photos.  Frittatas were not meant to be done by a recipe.  The cook just threw them together after seeing how many eggs were available in the hen house.  I made them the other day for the salad bar by roasting a few small cuts of vegetables and just pouring beaten egg over them to cover and adding Parmesan and pepper.  They were quite thin, perhaps half an inch, and I cut them into fingers for the salad bar crowd.
This is a meal that would traditionally be made by the cook in the family to use up left over veggies and meats in Italy, and there is one famous one(much like the one pictured) that is often seen on Tapas menus in Spain.  So very easy, you really do not need a recipe. 
This really is at its best in a big cast iron skillet, but this one was just in a standard skillet.  Of course non stick is more reliable to get out of the pan, unless the cast iron is very well seasoned. 
I just steamed a few potatoes (three) cut in 1/2 inch cubes, sauteed a medium onion, and included a few sun dried tomatoes(or red peppers).  Grease or spray a skillet or stove top worthy baking pan.  I put the veggies in the greased pan, season with salt, pepper, sauteed garlic etc., covered them with beaten egg(7) seasoned with salt and pepper and placed them over medium to low heat to cook the bottom.  In this case, I did not want to heat up the kitchen, so I lowered the heat and allowed it to continue cooking, covered, till almost completely set in the middle on the same burner.  Then I placed a layer of cheese on top(Provolone, Swiss, cheddar or Parmesan) and ran it under the broiler with the handle of the pan wrapped in foil.  Traditionally, I would place it in a medium oven to cook till set then do the same with the cheese.
You might do this with pasta, all sorts of veggies and meats left over.  Bacon, Pancetta, sausage chicken, thin steak, meatballs, shrimp, crab, lobster, tuna...(It would be unusual to use cheese with seafood.  However, southern Italians often use Parmesan or Pecorino with seafood all the time, especially since the cheese acts as a salt in the food.)  Just keep the heat low and it will work.
You may wish to lighten the egg mixture with a bit of plain water, or make it very rich and heavy with milk or cream(and or grated cheese) mixed in.
Sausage patties made with ground pork, black pepper, salt and sage...cure overnight or use immediately.  The sausage is not very dark.  It cooks quickly and there is much less fat and salt in it than store bought sausage.   see other posts.

A potato and sun dried tomato Frittata with Provolone(aged).

Breakfast ready in half an hour or so.
You can add milk, cream or Half and Half to the egg if you like.  If you feel you must extend the eggs, the result will be lighter with water instead of dairy.  You could easily add yogurt, sour cream, caviar, smoked salmon, home fries or all sorts of exotic ingredients to these.  Remember however, that the temperature will not get terribly high in the eggs, so it is wise to precook to desired doneness before combining ingredients.

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