Frittata frenzy: brunch for the family

It all started with trying to find an easy way to host a large family brunch and it turned into a frittata frenzy.

It was more fun then frenzy with several family members coming early to help chop vegetables and whisk eggs. We got creative with the ingredients and suddenly three frittatas turned into five, including versions for special diet requests.

For those unfamiliar with the frittata, it is an Italian egg dish that is sometimes described as a crustless quiche or pan-sized omelet. It is easy to make and once you have the basic recipe, you can easily create your own masterpieces. It is wonderful for brunch but also makes a great mid-week supper and is one way to use leftovers.

Our brunch was completed with several other family members bringing hot cross buns, heart-shaped waffles, asparagus gruyere tart, fruit salad, hash brown casserole, Greek and quinoa salad and pecan and saskatoon pie for dessert. It was a feast for more than 30 of us and everyone pitched in to help.

Here are a few recipes from our brunch, including a basic frittata .

Whole grain waffles with strawberry rhubarb topping

Topping:

  • 1/2 c. fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice 15 mL
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup 45 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. strawberries, quartered 375 mL

Waffles:

  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 175 mL
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour 175 mL
  • 2 tbsp. toasted wheat germ 30 mL
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder 6 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. non-fat plain 125 mL yogurt
  • 1 c. non-fat milk 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup 15 mL
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 mL
  • cooking spray
  • confectioner’s sugar for garnish (optional)

Topping:
In saucepan, combine rhubarb, orange juice and maple syrup. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for five minutes until rhubarb has softened and starts to break down. Add strawberries. Return to boil and then reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until strawberries have softened and liquid is thickened, about five minutes. Remove from heat.

Waffles:
Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat. In large bowl, combine flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, whisk yogurt, milk, oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ones, mixing only enough to combine.
Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and ladle batter onto waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions. Close waffle maker and cook batter until golden brown, about five minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, if using. Serve with strawberry topping.
Yields four servings. – Source: canolainfo.org.

Three Citrus mint dressing

Cookbook author George Geary developed this recipe with a light and zesty dressing that is like a mint pesto.

  • 8 c. sliced fresh seasonal fruits (melon and berries) 2 L
  • 1/2 c. canola oil 125 mL
  • 1/3 c. mint leaves, chopped fine 75 mL
  • 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice 30 mL
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds 10 mL

In large bowl, combine fruit. Set aside.
In small saucepan, heat oil on low to about 120 F (50 C) or until just heated. Turn off flame and add chopped mint. Let sit for one hour.
In food processor bowl fitted with metal blade, process orange, lemon and lime juice. Add oil/mint mixture and process until fine, about 45 seconds. Toss over fruit with poppy seeds. Stir to evenly coat. Serve.
Yields 16 servings. – Source: canolainfo.org.

Basic Frittata Recipe

  • 1 c. protein 250 mL
  • 2-3 c. mixed vegetables 500-750 mL
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 1–2 tsp. herbs and/or spices 5–10 mL
  • 1–2 tsp. minced garlic 5–10 mL
  • 1/2-1 tsp. salt 2–5 mL
  • 1/2-1 c. shredded or cubed cheese 125–250 mL
  • 6 – 8 large eggs (enough to cover ingredients)

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
If protein requires cooking, cook it first and then set aside.
In a large non-stick, ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add vegetables, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook. Cook until vegetables are tender. Drain any excess liquid. Return protein to the skillet. Stir to combine.
Add selected herbs, spices, garlic and salt. I tend to over season because once the eggs are added, the flavour will soften. Arrange mixture in the pan and cover with shredded or cubed cheese.
Whisk eggs together and pour over vegetables and cheese. Ensure the eggs cover the other ingredients and that they settle evenly.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are set. Timing will depend on which ingredients you use.
Test the frittata by inserting a knife into the middle. If the eggs are set, remove from the oven. Cool for five minutes, cut into pieces and serve.

We cooked with baking pans so we could serve more and fit more in the oven at one time. We oiled them before using and then simply filled each pan about three-quarters full of vegetables, cheese and protein. We whisked about eight to 10 eggs for each pan.

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

This recipe from MarthaStewart.com was so pretty, I had to try it. I used phyllo dough instead of puff pastry dough and it worked fine. I used about eight phyllo sheets, which I brushed with melted butter as I layered them.

  • flour, for work surface
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 2 c. gruyere cheese, 500 mL
  • shredded
  • 1 1/2 lb. medium or thick 750 g
  • asparagus
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 15 mL
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F (204 C). On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16 x 10 inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet.
With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough an inch from the edges to mark a rectangle.
Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at half-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

  • Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with gruyere.
  • Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell, then arrange in a single layer over cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

 

Protein options:

  • 1 c. diced chicken, beef, pork 250 mL
  • 1 c. chopped bacon, ham or sausage 250 mL
  • 1 c. chopped smoked salmon 250 mL

For vegetarians:

  • 1 1/2 c. cubed tofu 375 mL
  • extra 1/2 c. shredded or cube cheese 125 mL

Vegetable ideas:
(choose 2 or 3)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 c. diced mushrooms
  • 2 c. spinach or kale 500 mL
  • 1 potato, sliced
  • 1 green, yellow or red pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 8–10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. shredded carrot 125 mL
  • 1 c. chopped broccoli 250 mL
  • or cauliflower or zucchini
  • 1 c. leftover potatoes, rice or pasta 250 mL

Cheese Ideas:

  • Parmesan
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • sharp cheddar
  • gruyere
  • Emmental
  • Monterey Jack
  • feta
  • ricotta
  • mozzarella

Dorothy Sandercock is a home economist in the agrifood trade and former greenhouse grower from Lloydminster, Sask. She writes a blog at prairiekitchencompanion.blogspot.ca. Contact: [email protected].

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