|Brunch for Dinner|
May 24th, 2006
Molly at Orangette posted a piece recently debating the merits of brunch. Jim is definitely pro-brunch, he says he'd be happy to drift from brunch to brunch all day as long as there was some magic involved that let you eat eggs and bacon and drink mimosas for hours without getting full or sick. I tend to side with Molly on this one. I have to eat within an hour of getting up or I get cranky and tired, so then brunch is really just an early lunch where I feel like I'm eating too much food. But brunch foods for dinner, that's something both Jim and I can get behind.
Last night we had Zucchini and Cheddar Fritattas, adorable little egg dishes cooked in a muffin pan, along with some purchased Potato Dill bread and roasted cauliflower. Asparagus would have been more in keeping with the brunch theme but we ate ours up the night before. The recipe comes from The Family Kitchen by Debra Ponzek, a book I really like for its invocation of the kitchen as the center of the house, with kids and parents getting involved and having fun preparing meals together, whether a steamy pot of soup on a cold winter day or grilled corn and teriyaki salmon outside in the middle of summer. These fritattas are the first thing I've actually cooked out of the book, and they turned out really well.
The little muffin shaped fritattas are super cute and have an intense savory taste. It's hard to pick out the individual flavors of the zuchinni, shallots, cheese, and thyme, they blend so well together. The shallots predominate though, which is all to the good in my opinion. My only criticism would be that I thought they were a touch too salty, so in the recipe that follows I took the amount of salt called for down to half a teaspoon from the original three quarters. You could certainly adapt this recipe to suit your tastes; other combinations suggested by the author include Gruyere, spinach, and ham. The fritattas are also just the right size to perch on top of an English muffin or square of toast along with a nice slice of ham. Hollondaise sauce seems a little too rich to go with these savory bites, but maybe a light yogurt, lemon, and thyme combination would work. But as is, the fritattas are fabulous and easy to whip up for a midweek dinnertime brunch.
Individual Zucchini and Cheddar Frittatasmakes 12 frittatasoil spray
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 medium zuccini or 2 small ones, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
2 shallots, diced
1/2 tsp salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper
7 large eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a 12 muffin pan with cooking spray.
Shred the zucchini and chop the shallots. Saute them in 2 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat until wilted, about 4 minutes. Drain off any liquid and season with 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper to taste. Divide the vegetable mixture evenly among the muffin tins.
Grate the cheese. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the cheese, half-and-half, and thyme. Add the remaining salt and a few grinds of pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tins.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until just set. Run a table knife around the edges of the tins to loosen the fritattas and serve.
-adapted from The Family Kitchen, Debra Ponzek