Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Spinach Frittata

Given the title of this blog, I thought my first recipe should be something that includes cheese and garlic. This spinach frittata meets that requirement and, even more importantly, it is delicious (and very easy to make)!

The recipe was given to me by a woman I taught English to in Milan. She was moving to Zanzibar to help her son and son's fiancée open an Italian restaurant, so many of our lessons centered on culinary vocabulary. One day I mentioned that I had recently made a Turkish omelette, and she told me about a wonderful spinach frittata she liked to make. As a little exercise, I had her explain the recipe for this frittata to me in English, and then I tried it out that weekend and it was indeed wonderful!

So, without further ado, Sra. Bellagamba's Spinach Frittata:

You will need:
200-300 grams of spinach
A few cloves of garlic, with the peel still on
2 medium-sized eggs
a couple spoonfuls of freshly grated grana padano*
olive oil

*grana padano is a Lombardian (is that a word?) cheese that is very similar to parmesan but milder. You can easily substitute regular parmesan here if you do not have any grana on hand or if you prefer more of a bite to your frittata.

The first thing to do is to wash and dry your spinach leaves. If you are like me and like to buy your produce from farmer's markets, your spinach will probably require a very thorough washing. When I want to make this frittata for a Sunday breakfast I will sometimes even wash the spinach the night before, dry them, and then refrigerate them so that I do not have to deal with a bunch of dirty spinach first thing in the morning before I've even had my coffee!

In any case, once the spinach leaves have been washed, tear them into smaller pieces and put them aside in a dish. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and while the oil is heating, crush the cloves of garlic gently with the palm of your hand, keeping the peels intact. Once the oil is hot enough to make a water droplet sizzle, add the garlic. After another minute or two, add the spinach. I suggest adding the spinach in stages - add enough to cover the whole pan and once that has wilted a bit, add some more, and so on until you have added it all. Sauté the spinach for about 15 minutes.

While the spinach is saut
éing away, break the eggs into a bowl and beat them, then stir in the salt, pepper, and grated grana.

When the spinach are done, add them to the egg mixture and stir everything well. Pour the mixture into the same pan the spinach were in (or a different one if you like to do dishes) and let it cook for a couple minutes, using a spatula to shape it and keep the bottom from sticking to the pan. When the bottom is a goldeny-brown, take a plate or a lid that will cover the entire pan, and place it over the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, flip it over so the frittata lands face down on the plate/lid, and carefully slide the frittata back onto the pan. Return the pan to the stove and let the other side cook for another minute or two, and voilà! A delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner is ready (I think I've made the frittata for breakfast and dinner although not yet for lunch). Buon appetito!

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