Zucchini cheesy tomato frittata

Frittatas have introduced me to fancy egg dishes for dinner. As a kid, as well as an adult, I often ate them for breakfast. It was a gradual practice I developed early on and have held onto it for decades. Because of this routine, I would not want to eat eggs again for dinner–too many eggs, plus it’s boring to eat the same food day after day! But over the last decade, my breakfast leanings have stretched, and instead of just eggs for breakfast, I make other choices: oatmeal with a banana, fruit smoothies, grilled cheese, or yogurt. These options broaden breakfast for me, and then I felt comfortable eating eggs for dinner. Than too I’m presented with an opportunity to make a different/creative dinner, often without meat, something easy and lighter for a satisfying late-night meal.

I’m a gardener and often grow zucchini, along with many flowers. I love cooking with zucchini and preparing it in sweet or savory dishes. I pick this vegetable- or technically known as a fruit – when it reaches 6-8 inches long, The smaller size offers better flavor, texture, and less seeds. The larger ones tend to be tougher, more watery, and are better used for soups, stews, stuffing them and orshredded for zucchini bread.

Tomatoes, grape, or larger, are best fresh in summer, but, if you’re not too fussy, search t them out in winter, perhaps at a health food store. I enjoy garden – fresh tomatoes when sliced in half, topped with a sprinkling of salt. Since I’ve grown them extensively; I imagine I’m eating chocolate, they’re so sweet and delicious!

Back to the recipe, use any ripe tomato here– grape, cherry, or larger varieties. The larger ones will need to be cut in quarters or thirds, seeded or not, depending on your desire.

I enjoy recipes that offer contrast, a mingling of different flavors, and textures, plus color too.
This recipe presents diversity in the kitchen for the taste buds as well as for our eyes.

INGREDIENTS Serves 4

10 large eggs

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 tsp salt, divided

1/4 tsp pepper

4 Tbsp butter, divided

1 pound tomatoes, either small, or large ones cut in quarters, divided

3 Tbsp shallots, leeks, or scallions, chopped

2 Tbsp herbs, such as basil, winter savory, oregano, or thyme

1 tsp vinegar

2 medium zucchini, shredded

3 ounces goat cheese (3/4 cup) crumbled

PROCESS

1 Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, or use large holes of a microplane. Once the zucchini is grated, pat the mound a little to reduce some of the water in the zucchini. Set aside.

2 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position.

3 Whisk the eggs, half and half, half of the salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Set aside. Cut the tomatoes carefully on a cutting board and place in a bowl. Set aside.

4 Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 12-inch ovensafe nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and half of the salt. Cook on low-medium until the tomatoes release more of their juices and begin to break down some, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of basil and vinegar to the bowl. Set aside.

5 Add rest of the butter, the zucchini and shallots to the now-empty pan. Cook 7-10 minutes on medium-low heat until the zucchini softens. Stir in the egg mixture. Cook on low 2-3 minutes as the eggs firm up just slightly. Dollop the goat cheese on top of the pan,, stirring only once or twice to blend the ingredients with the zucchini and shallots. Top the egg mixture randomly with the tomatoes from the bowl. (But, leave a third to a half of the tomatoes in the bowl to eat later when you add them to the frittata after it is cooked.) With a fork or spoon, gently swirl the tomatoes in the pan around. Sprinkle on the rest of the basil.

6 Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the eggs are just set in the center. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Let it sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Slide the dish onto a large platter and cut into wedges. Serve the addtional saucy tomatoes on the side.

TIPS AND TWEAKS

  • If you don’t have goat cheese, Feta orRicotta make excellent substitutes.
  • Instead of shallots, use part of a leek, or 2 scallions.
  • Add about half of a green or red pepper, chopped at step 5, when you cook the zucchini. Don’t cook much more than half of pepper because your pan may be too full! Still t hough, the color will look nice with the yellow eggs!
  • If you like spice, add a few drops of cayenne pepper at step 3.
  • Garlic would be excellent to add to the frittata. Mince 2-3 cloves and at step 5, add them toward the end of the 7-10 minute cooking time for the zucchini and shallots. Make sure the heat is low so as not to burn the garlic. Then, continue on with the recipe.
  • If cooking this dish in winter, search out Campari tomatoes, since for the last 20+ years they have been grown and are known to be quite fresh, even in winter!
  • For a richer meal, use heavy cream instead of half and half, or just use milk, maybe with some water to lessen the richness of the frittata.

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