Good morning, readers! I don’t know about you, but I have not been jumping out of bed lately. Freezing temperatures have plagued my neighborhood. All I want on a cold, winter day is a warm, hearty brunch.
That’s exactly what I am going to make!
Anytime someone mentions brunch, I immediately think of eggs. Eggs are brunch’s glorious blank canvases that can be transformed into creations like scrumptious omelets, quiches, and sandwiches (just to name a few).
There’s one type of egg preparation that I’ve never made before, and that’s a frittata.
A frittata is like a crustless quiche, and it is Italy’s version of the omelet. The word frittata comes from the Italian word friggere meaning “to fry.” The frittata may have originated in Mesapotamia, spreading to Persia (as the Ku Ku), then Spain (as the Spanish omelet/tortilla), Northern Africa (as the egg and potato omelet), Italy (as the frittata), France (as the omelette) and England. The frittata has multiple variations worldwide, and has become the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of champions.
Ironically, the frittata originated as a leftover dish. It is a fantastic vessel for using random leftover ingredients that you have in your kitchen. The frittata can be made using any number of foods, but it generally contains eggs, cheese, vegetables and/or meat. The frittata is usually browned on the stove-top before being transferred to the oven to finish. However, today’s frittata will be completely baked in the oven.
I do not use a lot of salt in my recipes, which you may have noticed from my previous posts. I know chefs around the world who are reading that comment may be wincing at the thought, but I do not find the taste of salt that appealing. I’d rather use foods or spices that have salty notes to mimic the flavor of salt without becoming overbearing. Therefore, the secret ingredients in my frittata are…
The olive has a 6,000 year-long history that can be traced to the Middle East. The olive is grown on a tree of the Olea europaea plant family in which lilacs, jasmine and forsythia also belong. Olive trees are Eco-friendly, and can withstand drought, many diseases, and fire. Olives come in many shapes and sizes, and range in color from green to black.
Green and black olives are harvested at different times. Green olives do not ripen before being picked and black olives stay on the tree until they are ripe. Most olives, whether green or black, are soaked in lye before being processed. Green olives are then fermented in brine for at least half a year before pitting.
Have you ever tried an olive before the fermentation process? It has intensely bitter flavor. Fermentation decreases the bitterness of the olive.
Black olives are cured in brine after being soaked in lye. They are rarely stuffed, unlike green olives. Green olives generally have two times more sodium than black olives, and black olives have more olive oil than green olives (2).
I tend to favor black olives to green olives because of their hearty, briny flavor and the higher fat content. Black olives are slightly bitter, with a salty, umami-like, vinegar finish. Since black olives have are fattier than green olives, black olives have more healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that benefit heart health.
For dessert recipes using healthy olive fats, check out my Olive Oil Cupcake Recipe. In the meantime, let’s make some brunch!
Olive Brunch Frittata
- 3 cloves garlic
- 6 stalks celery
- 1/2 large white onion
- 1/4 cup dried pitted olives (try Sunfood brand)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp dried ground basil
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 12 eggs
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 cup gouda or grand cru cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Mince the garlic cloves. Brown them in a skillet on the stove-top with a splash of oil. Remove the garlic from the heat when finished.
- Chop the celery and the olives, then dice the onion.
- Grate the mozzarella cheese and the gouda/grand cru cheese. The second cheese will be added to the top of the frittata to make a crust. You can honestly use any cheese you want, but I chose grand cru for this batch.
- Add the garlic, celery, onions, olives, and mozzarella cheese to a large bowl. Add the spices, and mix well.
- In a separate large bowl, add 12 eggs and 2 tbsp of heavy cream. Whip the eggs using a whisk until air bubbles form (about 5 minutes). Do not overwhip the eggs, because the air bubbles will collapse! The air bubbles make the frittata light and fluffy.
- Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture of vegetables and cheese. Stir gently until the eggs are incorporated evenly with the vegetable mixture.Place the frittata mix into a well-greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan. You can even put parchment paper in the pan before adding the frittata mixture.
- Put the frittata in the oven for 25 minutes. Take the frittata out of the oven and add the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese to the top. The frittata should cook for 15 more minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and a toothpick/knife comes out cleanly from the frittata.
- Let the frittata cool for 5 minutes before cutting a slice.
Enjoy the delicious olive flavor and savor this warm brunch on a cold, winter day.
1. The History of the Frittata. Kitchenproject.com. http://kitchenproject.com/history/Fritatta/index.htm. Accessed January 16, 2015.
2. Lehman S. The Difference Between Green and Black Olives. Today I Found Out. http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/04/the-difference-between-green-and-black-olives/. Updated 2012. Accessed January 16, 2015.
© The Baking Tour Guide, 2015