|Rialto Market in Venice, 2005|
Frittatas (and omelets) are made by swiftly cooking beaten eggs with butter or oil. They can include a combination of fillings such as cheese, vegetables, or meat. We have always told our boys that knowing how to cook an omelet or frittata is the best way to impress a date!
To produce a fluffy consistency, whole eggs (or sometimes egg whites) only are beaten with a small amount of milk or cream. This creates water vapor bubbles trapped inside the quickly cooked eggs. These bubbles are what make a frittata light and airy. Spring vegetables work particularly well in a frittata because they require very little cooking and benefit from the steam created by the water vapor trapped in the eggs. We especially enjoy using fresh-from-the-garden, brilliant orange squash blossoms for their subtle and squashy flavor.
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
- 4-6 freshly picked squash blossoms, cleaned
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoon Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 teaspoons light cream (or whole milk)
- 1/4 cup favorite cheese (Chevre, Gouda, Gruyere), grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
Clean the squash blossoms by gently brushing off dirt; we use a paint brush (designated for kitchen use only.) Do not rinse blossoms! Rinsing turns them to mush and dilutes their essence.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, butter, and salt & pepper.
Melt ½ teaspoon butter in a 12-inch nonstick pan over medium heat, swirling the pan to coat it with the butter. Place squash blossoms in the pan and gently pour egg m mixture over the top. If you are using goat cheese, gently place dollops among the blossoms. Cook for about 3 minutes, gently stirring with a non-metal spatula or spoon to lift the cooked egg off the bottom of the pan and allow the uncooked portion to heat. Be careful not to over stir the frittata or break up your squash blossoms.
When the underside of the frittata is set on the bottom of the pan, scatter the top with the grated cheese. Run the pan under the broiler and cook for about 1 minute, or until the eggs are set on top and the cheese has melted. Using the non-metal spatula, loosen the frittata from the pan, slide it onto a platter to serve. Serve hot with toasted crusty bread and enjoy the amazing texture of the whisked eggs and delicate squash blossoms! Aaah, Spring is here!
Note: You would use the same techniques for cooking a squash blossom omelet. The amount of time under the broiler might be a bit less since the eggs would continue to cook once folded. When removing the omelet from the pan after broiling, slide half of the eggs out of the pan and use the edge of the pan to fold into the traditional half-moon shape. Garnish with cheese or parsley to serve.