"I hate people who are not serious about their meals."

Oscar Wilde,
The Importance of Being Earnest

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Baked Frittata

We all have those evenings. 
You know, when you really can't be bothered to cook anything that involves more than 10 minutes of your time? In fact, you're not even really that hungry, but you would like something easy and tasty that doesn't involve a pizza delivery or baked beans on toast. Well, here is one dish that will solve all your problems - 5 minutes of prep time, and then you can pop it in the oven and forget about it for the next 45. The great aroma as it bakes will help develop your appetite, too. The only other thing you may want to do is toast some crusty bread for the perfect comfort-food accompaniment. It also makes for a great brunch.

The other great thing about this dish is that you can practically use whatever you have in the fridge. 
Bacon could easily be substituted for the ham, or you could leave the meat out altogether. You could use asparagus or grated zucchini or even leeks in place of the spinach. Fresh herbs or semi-dried tomatoes would add a great flavour, too. Then there's the cheese... the possibilities are endless!

Baked Frittata
Serves 4

7 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
8 oz frozen spinach (about 225g), defrosted
1 garlic clove, minced
4 shallots/scallions, finely sliced (I've also used half an onion, finely diced)
1/2 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
7 oz (200g) thick sliced ham
a large handful of grated cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.  Grease your baking pan - I use a 9" square pan, but I'm sure a rectangular pan of similar size would work just as well.

Squeeze excess liquid out of the spinach and spread in the bottom of the pan. Top with the shallots.  Dice the ham into small cubes and scatter on top of the spinach along with your tomato halves. You could also add some chopped fresh herbs at this point, if you so desired - dill, parsley, etc.

Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk with the milk, salt and pepper.  Pour over the vegetables.
Sprinkle your cheese on top. You could really use whatever cheese you like here, cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, etc. The best results I've had was putting in some crumbled blue cheese first and then a light sprinkling of mozzarella over the top.  The mozzarella forms a nice top in the oven while blue cheese sinks into the mixture a little, so you get that lovely zingy blue cheese taste when you bite into the frittata.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden and the middle is completely set.


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