We had a Chiquita’s Weekend at my house this weekend, which mainly consists of lots of eating, drinking and staying up ’till 4:00 am. While there is nearly always lots of good food, and I like to try out new recipes, tradition dictates that I make a frittata at some point during the weekend.
I make frittata often, as they make for a quick & easy breakfast or lunch and are a good way to use up leftovers or excess veggies; this being the case, however, it’s a recipe that is highly dependent on the season and what is available in my fridge, so I rarely make the same one twice. Frittata is always yummy, but this particular version turned out so well that I decided to write it down.
I make my frittata in a 14-inch, low-sided, non-stick skillet, which produces 8 large slices. If you have a smaller pan (or fewer hungry mouths to feed) cut the recipe in half and use an 8-inch omelet pan.
Sausage & Leek Frittata
- 1/2 lb herb sausage, casings removed, crumbled
- butter or olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 lb potatoes
- 3 medium leeks (about 3 cups), trimmed, quartered lengthwise, washed well and sliced, using white and green parts
- 12 large eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, plus additional for garnish
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- couple of dashes of Tabasco or other hot chile sauce
- 8 oz mozzarella, diced
- Brown the crumbled sausage in a large, oven-proof skillet (preferably non-stick or cast iron) over medium-high heat. Make sure the sausage is not crowded in the pan (pieces should not touch) so that it will brown rather than steam. Transfer browned sausage to a bowl and pour off all the sausage grease, through a fine sieve, into a small bowl.
- Scrub potatoes and remove any discolored or dried out areas of peel; leave remaining potato peel on and chop the potatoes into 1/2-inch dice.
- Return 2-3 tbsp of sausage grease to the skillet and brown potatoes for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat (if there is not enough sausage grease, add enough butter or olive oil to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan). Toss the potatoes frequently to brown each side, then reduce the heat to medium-low and saute the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the potatoes to the reserved sausage.
- Transfer the chopped leeks to the pan, adding more sausage grease, butter or oil as needed. Saute the leeks over low to medium-low heat until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Do not allow the leeks to brown as they will develop a bitter taste.
- Meanwhile mix eggs, salt, black & cayenne pepper, parsley and Tabasco in a small bowl and beat until foamy.
- Return potatoes and sausage to the skillet. Stir to mix thoroughly. Raise heat to medium-high and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Evenly spread vegetables and sausage across the pan, then mix eggs one last time and quickly pour over vegetable mixture in the skillet. Gently shake or tilt the pan to even out the level of the eggs in the pan (if necessary) then dot the top of the mixture evenly with mozzarella pieces. Shake, or press with a wooden spoon, to press the cheese into the fritatta.
- Allow to cook at medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the edges are crisp and the top is beginning to firm up, about 10 minutes. Place an oven rack at a high-middle position and turn on the oven broiler.
- Once most of the fritatta is cooked, but there is still a bit of liquid visible on top of the fritatta, turn off the stovetop heat and transfer the pan to the oven under a broiler. Broil for approximately 5 minutes, or until the top of the frittata is puffed up and golden and the cheese has started to carmelize.
- Remove from the oven (carefully!) and place on a pizza peel or large cutting board. Allow to cool in the pan for approximately 5 minutes (for ease in removal). Slide a thin, flexible spatula between the edges of the frittata and the pan, all the way around, and then tilt the pan, with the spatula underneath the leading edge of the frittata, and gently slide the frittata out onto the cutting board. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
- Cut with a pizza wheel or long, sharp knife and serve warm or at room temperature.
Yields 8 large slices.
- I know I always say this, but the options are nearly endless. In my opinion, the basic frittata contains eggs, potatoes and some form of onion (onion, leek, scallion, wild garlic, etc). Other than that, almost anything can be added, or not, depending upon your mood, the season, and the contents of your fridge. The one caution is that very watery vegetables, like tomatoes, can add too much water to a frittata; they can be used, but may need additional cooking in order to cook off the water, before the addition of the eggs.
Keeps well in the refrigerator for at least a week. Slices also freeze well and make a convenient breakfast or lunch after a warm-up in the toaster oven or microwave.
Frittata can be made year-round. Leeks are in season in spring and fall and are generally available at farmer’s markets all winter long.
Frittata is one of my favorite dishes in that it incorporates all the leftovers from a spaghetti night with all the bits and pieces of cheese left in the frig. Place all the cooked spaghetti noodles and spaghetti sauce in a bowl, add the eggs and grated cheeses available, pack into a baking dish, top with parmesan and bake until knife comes out clean. Depending on what I have on hand, I’ll add mushrooms, fresh rosemary or fresh basil, olives, julienned bell peppers or marinated artichokes either in the filling or before the parmesan topping. This is good for lunchboxes too.