A Pretty OK Recipe: Farmer’s Market in a Pan
Most recipe blogs have a tendency to ramble on for hundreds of words before you even sniff an actual recipe. Occasionally, there’s interesting stuff there, but most of the time, it’s an excuse to jam in an explanation of why you just have to make your own yellow curry paste or to discuss your obsession with Williams-Sonoma Collection: French. Don’t get us wrong; we’re still using way too many words here. But since this isn’t actually a recipe blog, we’re going to do something different: recipe first. If you want to stick around and read our ramblings after that, more power to you. If not, you’re free to go enjoy your food. We promise.
Summer Vegetable Frittata — the short version
3 cups seasonal vegetables (for summer: shredded zucchini, chopped tomatoes, or eggplant)
1 onion, diced
3 scallions (green onions), trimmed and sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella/feta/some other cheese
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine seasonal vegetables, onions, scallions, cheese, flour, and baking powder in large bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk eggs and oil.
- Pour egg mixture into bowl with other ingredients and combine well.
- Add parsley (and salt/pepper to your liking) and mix.
- Pour mix into lightly oiled cast iron skillet. Smooth the top, place in oven and bake for 40 minutes—or until the top is golden and the sides pull away from the skillet.
Summer Vegetable Frittata — the entirely-too-long version
My apologies, first off, for taking a while to continue our Mediocre Meals series. I don’t have a good excuse. I’ve been cooking and shit, but I’ve also been watching the Sopranos. That was really time consuming. They also cook some good fucking food — major shoutouts to Artie Bucco and Carmella. Hell, even Ralphie shows Jackie Jr. how to make some pasta sauce. (By the way, what’s the deal with calling it gravy/red gravy? That creeps me out. Please don’t do that.)
[Editor’s note: It’s a real thing. Considering that you read Slate more than all the rest of us combined, you probably should have found this article before I did, Pierce.]
That said, this installment is pretty explicitly not Italian-American inspired. It’s also not inspired by any TV or movies I’ve watched recently. No, this installment is inspired by a place that reminds you that a higher being is looking out for your hopeless ass: the farmer’s market! Wow, that place is awesome.
It’s hot as hell in D.C. in the summer, so this is a place you can go during the only decent part of the day [Editor’s note: This is factually false. There is no “decent part of the day” where it is not hot as hell.] to talk to some people, buy some delicious fresh goods, and walk around without sweating an embarrassing amount. It has also inspired one of my better half-baked ideas: a farmer’s market-based dating app.
Now, before the editor’s note that I’m sure is coming to dismiss the idea, let me explain. You meet at the market and there are endless opportunities to escape OR really make something of it. No compatibility? Totally fine, you just did your shopping with some company. Took maybe 30 minutes, tops. Need to feel it out more? Grab some coffee/snacks at the market. Want to really get to know them? It’s early still — you can get breakfast. Think there’s really something there? Well, you sly dog, you just bought some delectable foods. Why don’t you take them back to your abode and make…brunch? Or lunch? Or dinner. Take your time, lovebirds. And make sure to thank me *cue eHarmony theme song*.
[Editor’s note (as predicted): Good on you, finally figuring out which of your ideas are half-baked before I have to tell you. Don’t want to burst your bubble, but this one actually already exists. It’s called using literally any other dating app in existence and meeting up at the farmer’s market.]
Anyways, I’ve been making a new dish for myself recently. I can’t stress this enough, so let me just be blunt about it: This is a cheap, easy, delicious thing that is fairly dense without having meat in it — which is a super useful type of recipe to have handy. It also happens to be a frittata, which I realize as I write this is an Italian word, so I’m a fucking idiot for falling into the exact hole I said I wouldn’t fall into earlier. But it is very different than the “family” type meals of The Sopranos and The Godfather. There’s no sausage, no meatballs, no capicola, no heavy sauce (or gravy).
It is also not a quiche, because there is no crust. Crusts are cool, but quiches sometimes get raised eyebrows—probably because quiche is a funny word to say. Also, crusts can be finicky and labor-intensive, and that is definitely not consistent with our motto of aggressive mediocrity. I require something easy that I can a) make while listening to a podcast, and b) has a recipe that fits on an index card.
This satisfies both requirements, so let’s do it.
Go ahead and set your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (and if you need Celsius, go Google it or something, because I don’t do math anymore). Once that’s done, we need to assess your vegetable situation, which means considering your farmer’s market approach (or your grocery store approach, if you want to avoid being a douche like me. I won’t take offense — I’m beyond saving, honestly).
You want fresh vegetables, which means you want pretty much whatever is in season. In the summer, i.e. right now (assuming Sean gets this post up sometime this month), that means squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplants are great choices. Zucchini is supposed to be the star of this dish — the Stephen Curry, if you will — but this is a team game, and sometimes Klay Thompson reminds you that he is also good as hell, so show off whatever veggies get you the most hype. I’ve been making this with zucchini and tomatoes, but you could easily throw in eggplant or that yellow squash.
Chop/shred 3 cups of veggies and put them in a big bowl. You want to shred the zucchini and squash and chop the tomatoes/eggplant. The phallic ones have a different composition internally, so they can handle the shredding (Jesus, what did I just type, but this is how cooking works, I think), whereas the seeds/liquid in the others makes chopping better.
[Editor’s note: Have you ever seen an eggplant? The emoji you use to reference your dick in a text message is the eggplant, but somehow it’s not one of “the phallic ones?” On top of that, when’s the last time you found liquid in an eggplant? Fuck outta here.]
[Author’s note responding to the editor’s note: So I never cook with eggplant. And I don’t look at them often (heh) but I did for science recently and you’re right they are pretty solid in the middle. Still chop them, though. As for phallic qualities, the eggplants that would go in this do not look like penises. They look like those Russian nesting dolls.]
Add a diced onion, 3 trimmed/sliced scallions/green onions, a cup of cheese, a cup of flour, and a teaspoon of baking powder to that bowl and combine them all. A quick word on the cheese: feta is probably best, but mozzarella is also good. I would advise against harder cheeses. In my experience, you want something that gets kind of melty and oozes around.
In a separate bowl, whisk 4 eggs and a quarter cup olive oil. I wrote down “3 eggs” on my index card, and now I will forever have to remind myself to add another. In the second episode of Mad Men (yeah, editor — I knew this off the top of my head), the Sterlings and the Drapers are getting dinner and a Caesar salad is being prepared. Roger wants another egg in the dressing. His rationale: “Darling, one egg is good, two eggs are better.” The same applies here. The extra egg will give the frittata a better structure. It also gives it more protein and makes it more “eggy,” as opposed to a vegetable casserole thing. Not that a vegetable casserole is a bad thing; just giving a frame of reference.
Now, pour the egg mixture into the big bowl and combine well.Remember, this is fairly hearty and dense so it’ll be good for dinner and/or lunch. Also, I failed to mention that this is tasty hot AND at room temperature. Some are weird about foods not being hot, but this is actually quite good when cooled down. Exit your comfort zone a little. I’m here for you, I promise.
Finally, add a quarter cup of coarsely chopped parsley and as much salt & pepper as you like, which some call to taste. I find “to taste” kind of confusing, but you do you. Anyway, there’s a lot of flavor in this thing, so you may want to keep it low and adjust later, potentially with hot sauce. Hot sauce is good on egg-y things.
Alright, it’s time to put this in the oven and….oh shit, you gotta put this in a pan. Let’s discuss that pan. You could do this in a lightly oiled 9x9 pan if that’s all you have, but that will be decidedly less good than pouring this lovely mixture into a cast iron skillet (which means buying one if you don’t already have it). I’m probably not the first person to tell you that cast iron pans are awesome, but understand that their ability to hold heat well and to be put in the oven make them especially dope. The oven part is particularly useful here, as the cast iron will cook your frittata up nice and help it develop a pleasant shape.
So pour the mixture into a lightly oiled cast iron skillet, smoothing it out so the top is level, and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until top is golden and the sides start to detach from the skillet. Like I said above, let this cool a bit before you shove your face into it, as it is actually quite good at a temperature less than “piping hot.” A bit of hot sauce isn’t bad either. This is very good for lunch the next day at work, when everyone else is waiting in line at Chipotle for burritos and napkins (go ahead, count all the Chipotle napkins around where you work. I use them constantly and I have no idea where they came from — they just spontaneously generate).
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the fact that you just made something good without meat, and what’s more, you did it without making a big deal about it not having meat! And if you’re thinking to yourself ”Well, actually, about those eggs…,” stop right there because you just made a big deal about it so that congratulatory remark doesn’t apply to you.
Anyway, it’s time to eat this and celebrate summer. But maybe with other people, too, because that’s cool — and you’re cool for reading this much about that time I made a vegetable frittata.