Saturday Dec 01, 2007

Frittata 101

The S word of the day is scrumptious!

A few weeks ago I snapped a photo of some frittatas I made and wrote a quick post about it.  In the comments, Simon and Melanie asked for recipes. (Not to ignore their comments, Linda and Barb did make me laugh). 

While I'm happy to provide a "How To" on the Frittata front, I'm sorry that I have to disappoint  Mel.  See Mel is currently appliance challenged and is sans oven over in China.  (I'd go nuts!)  An oven is required to make a frittata properly, it's what separates it from the omelettes of the world.  Now it's possible that you could do the baking part on a stove using a good lid or even a double boiler of some sort but you'd have to be careful of direct heat at the bottom of the pan which will most likely result in the worst kind of eggs, burnt ones.

These are super simple to make.  You add what you like and you can get as creative as you want.  I usually make two or three different types due to different tastes in the family.

First start off with what I called the shared ingredients.  These things will go into each frittata, and it's kind of a free for all.  Add what you like.  In this mixture I have:

  • One large maui onion, diced
  • One green bell pepper, diced
  • One red bell pepper, diced
  • One Jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • One shallot
  • 6 strips of turkey bacon, crumbled
  • 2 turkey sausage links, sliced
  • 2 ham steaks, cubed

Any reason I used the above?  None for except I like them and I had them.

Cook that all up with a little bit of olive oil until the onions are just getting translucent.

I'm also going to make one with some mushrooms.  I'm the only fungus fan in the house, so I sauté these sliced baby portobello in a different pan.

 

While I'm waiting on the shared ingredients to finish, I'm going to get a little creative with my mushroom frittata.  I've thin sliced two medium yukon gold potatoes which I seasoned with some garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Into 450 F degree oven for about 15 minutes to get crispy.  This is going to be my "crust".

 

 

When the mushrooms are done, I transfer them to a bowl and then line that pan with my crispy potato thins. 

 

 

On top of that I add some of the shared ingredient mixture, and put back in the mushrooms. 

 

 

For your other frittatas, spray some non-stick cooking spray into oven safe pans and load up them up with your ingredients.  You actually want to turn the stove on now and get the pans up to temperature for the eggs.  I've got three going here, the "plain", mushroom, and a Hawaiian, which is basically just the shared ingredients with pineapple included.  Crushed works best if you have it, and if you are going to use canned, make sure you get the kind packed in juice not syrup.

 


 

Now to add the eggs.  This is about 30 eggs.  I used about 12 whole eggs and 18 egg whites.  Whip the eggs in a large bowl and add salt and pepper.  If you used whole eggs for all of them, the frittata would be super dense.  Using egg whites make the dish lighter, fluffier, and far lower in fat.   Note that I've also added some green/spring onions to the top.

As soon as the eggs start to bubble, it's time for the oven. 



Put your pans into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  I have a convection oven, so your times may vary.   You'll know they are done because the eggs are firm and you can insert a fork and it comes out cleanly.

 

For the final step, top the frittata with cheese.  I've added a cheddar/colby mix to the mushroom potato frittata and some fresh shredded Parmesan to the Hawaiian.  The flavor of the Parmesan goes great with the sweetness of the pineapple and it creates a nice crispy top.  Back in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted the way you like it.

 

 

Remove from the oven, and let sit for a few minutes.  Remember the pans are extremely hot and will remain so for quite a while.  I forget this every time and I always grab one of the handles when I go to serve the dish.  Ouch.

 

 

Slice like a pie and enjoy.  Simple, economical, and delicious!   

 

Thursday Aug 30, 2007

Macadamia Crusted Halibut

This turned out really good and was pretty simple to make.


 

This is really one of those season to taste things, but I'll try to recall exactly what I did.

Heat oven to 375 F. 

In a food processor, mince up 2-3 cloves of garlic

Add about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of Macadamia nuts

Add about 1/2 cup of a grated Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano Cheese blend.

Pulse that all together so the nuts are chopped nicely.  This mixture should be pretty moist (due to the oil in the nuts), but by no means a paste.

From here you'll want to add some salt and perhaps some other spices until it meets your liking.  I probably used 1 to 2 tsp of Emeril's Essence.  Again, this is a taste thing, get it to your liking.

Cut about 1 pound of fresh Halibut into 3 or 4 pieces.  Rinse and pat fish dry.

Salt the fish (Don't forget it!)

Now comes the fun part.  You need to take the somewhat moist nut mixture and really press it on the fish.  Pack it on both sides.

In non-stick (or cast iron) pan that's at medium high heat, brown the nut mixture on the fish.  You shouldn't need any oil in the pan as there is plenty in the nuts.  When brown, carefully flip and repeat for the other side.  You have to be careful here so the crust stays on the fish.  In other words, don't crowd the pan as you'll need room to handle the spatula properly.  Bad angle means the crust is coming off.

Spray a cookie sheet with some non-stick spray and carefully transfer the fish from the pan to the cookie sheet.

Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes in the oven.

Serve and Enjoy!

As for the Grilled Asparagus, that's simple.  Drizzle some Olive oil over the stalks, get them all covered, dust with some kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and some onion powder.  Cook on grill over medium high heat until each side has some grill marks in them.  Doesn't take long and is the absolute best way to make asparagus. 

Friday Aug 03, 2007

Mojo Sauce

Mojo is a marinade that typically has two things in common regardless of variation.  Citrus and Garlic.  Here's my variation on the theme which is more common with Mexican style cooking than with Cuban where you also find a lot of mojo.

You can make this and marinate almost any meat and it will turn out fantastic.  For chicken and beef, I like to cut into strips so the flavor goes everywhere.  Chicken breasts cut lengthwise into four strips is about the perfect size.  For beef, you could use a cut of top round cut into 1" strips against the grain.  Top round is usually labeled London Broil although it is really a cooking style not a cut of meat.  My favorite is shrimp.  You must however get raw, shell on for this to work right.  Find a larger shrimp (U12 is perfect) that is raw, but de-veined.  Open up the shells a bit so the mojo can get around the meat.  The skin of the shrimp will actually prevent most marinades from penetrating, but the slice from the where it was de-veined will allow the mojo goodness to penetrate.

1 Large bunch of Cilantro (Stems on or off if you like the flavor of the stems)

2 Oranges (Juiced)

3 Limes (Juiced)

5 cloves of garlic (If you don't have a good blender, chop these up)

1 Jalepeno (seeded if you want less heat)

2 Green Onions (Including the white part) 

1 Serrano (take the stem off)

Tbsp of Kosher Salt

A few grinds from the pepper grinder

1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp of white vinegar

(Makes enough marinade for about 4 or 5 pounds of meat) 

Throw that all in a blender and blend up.  Taste and add more salt if desired.  Reserve a bit of the sauce for dipping, then throw your meats into a 1 gallon ziplock bag and pour in the marinade.  Toss bag around to ensure you get good coverage and let sit in fridge for up to two hours.

For the shrimp, cook with the shell on.  Put the shrimp through skewers.

Cook on hot grill (where you can hold your hand over for 2-3 seconds). 

Flip once they turn orange, then do the same for the other side. 

They are done when they are orange on both sides, don't overcook!  Serve with beer and the reserved Mojo for dipping. 

Your choice to serve with the shells on or not, they come off really easy and it's actually kind of fun and slows down the pace of the meal to have the diners do it themselves.

About

My name is Craig Bender aka ThinGuy. I'm a Principal Software Developer for Oracle's Virtual Desktop Engineering group.

I architect and evangelize the use of Oracle's Desktop technology including Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop, and Oracle VDI.

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