Monday, August 25, 2014

A Sunburst of Flavor--Cherry Tomato Frittata

Sometimes inspiration comes from a conversation. Other times it is a book, or just plain necessity. Mine starts when I show my sister Prassy, my burgeoning vegetable patch. She takes one look at the mound of Sun Golds and launches into a description of a frittata she has eaten. As she recites the ingredients, even before she comes to the execution, I know I will make it for lunch. I have all the fixings. Onions, garlic, mushrooms and of course the cherry tomatoes. But I add something extra to the lineup.

A morning expedition to the farmers market results in bunches of verdant green beet and carrot tops. I am loathe to throw them out. I chop a handful of each to add into the frittata. I love the slightly spicy taste of beet greens. Roughly chopped into a stir fry or added to a pullao or pilaf, they give the dish a complex umami taste. Slightly bitter, a liitle pungent and very tasty!! I plan to stir fry them later as an accompaniment to steak and potatoes. BUT I have never cooked with carrot tops before!!! So here goes. I think they will impart a mild carrot flavor to the dish... At least I hope. The lady at the farmers market said she makes a pesto out of carrot tops. Not doing that today! 

Since the contents of the fritatta are at hand, I make short shrift of prep work. It helps to have peeled, halved onions in the fridge. Garlic that's sits on the countertop becomes papery and really easy to peel...I don't know the how of it but it works!!! I usually have a pod that sits at arms length from the knife and cutting board! Cremini mushrooms give the dish that earthy flavor. And of course the beet and carrot tops. I also chop up fresh basil, parsley and mint. Prassy advises me to use goat cheese.... so I do.  In for penny, in for a pound. I reap the fruits of my labor, a huge basket of orange Sun Gold cherry tomatoes. This year I decide to plant just one cherry plant. In spite of  that cautionary measure, the mound piles high every morning.  The mainstay of a frittata goes in...wholesome eggs!!! It's almost lunchtime... I have to get cracking!!!


4 Eggs
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 Onion
3 cloves Garlic
8 Cremini or any other Mushrooms
1 cup Beet Greens
1/2 cup Carrot Tops
2 tablespoons Parsley
8 Basil leaves 
6 Mint leaves
1/2 to 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 cup Goat Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk well.

Thinly slice onions, garlic and mushrooms.

Wash beet greens and carrot tops. Dry and roughly chop both greens.

Slice parsley, basil and mint leaves into thin ribbons.

Heat oven to 375F.

Place an oven-safe saucepan over high heat. A cast iron saucepan works really well.

Add olive oil. 

Wait 20 seconds, then add onions and garlic and saute till onions have dark brown edges. It should take a few minutes.

Add mushrooms and saute for a few minutes till light brown.

Dump the beet and carrot greens in and stir the mixture for a few minutes till green wilt.

Take the veggies off the heat. 

Stir in the sliced herbs, salt and pepper.

Whisk the eggs and add to the pan. Make sure eggs flow into all nooks and crannies and are spread all over the pan.

Nestle cherry tomatoes into eggs. 

Dot with knobs of goat cheese.

Place pan in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Shake pan to see if eggs are runny. They should be firm, golden and slightly puffed up. 

Remove pan from the oven, slice and serve the frittata. 


If you do not have an oven safe saucepan you could first sauté the veggies in a pan. Then mix eggs and veggies and pour into a glass baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.

I love the texture of the frittata cooked in cast iron. The bottom and edges are golden brown and crusty. 

I only used 4 eggs as the recipe is for two helpings. You could easily add more, up to 8 for more substantial wedges.

The frittata emerges with golden brown edges, slightly puffed, oozing goat cheese and plump tomatoes. I hastily cut wedges as the aroma is mouthwatering. These bright yellow and green wedges are slender in weight. My deliberate attempt at cutting calories. But immensely satisfying. And so begins a pleasant lunch for two, on a picture perfect day. Prassy...this might be your inspiration but it is my perspiration!