My mom came out to California to visit for only the second time ever last weekend, the first being for our wedding a couple of summers ago. Although she has travelled around Europe a fair bit (especially in the wilder days of her youth) and has been up and down the Eastern seaboard countless times, she had never made it west of the Mississippi river, aside from these two trips to visit me. Crazy, no? So I felt obliged to entertain her a bit- took off a couple of days from work, made plans for a belated Mothers’ Day celebration, and so forth. How unfortunate, then, that a massive heat wave struck seemingly the moment she stepped off of the plane, derailing all outdoor activities.
Instead we turned to movies, to Pinkberry, and to cooking. Like many moms, mine has cooked dinner pretty much every night in recorded history. My dad is a hot dogs and beans sort of cook, when left to his own devices, which explains why my mom single-handedly made dinner for all of us every night during my childhood. As she’ll admit, she’s not a particularly ambitious cook, but even if you’re just making pasta or chicken breasts, doing it night after night becomes a little grueling. So I figured this visit was a good opportunity to let her put her feet up and relax while I took care of the cooking.
Of course, our diets are just about as dissimilar as can be. She steers clear of carbs, especially anything with wheat or corn, while I couldn’t imagine life without bread, pasta, potatoes, etc… With that in mind, I tried to plan our menus around the proteins that she prefers- eggs, chicken, and fish- and decided on this frittata, originally published here on Simply Recipes, for our first evening’s meal.
Mom declared that this was the best frittata she’s ever had and although it may have been the fact that she didn’t have to make it that caused her to utter such superlatives, I’d agree that it was pretty great. It had lots of flavor thanks to the herbs and a generous helping of olive oil as well as a lovely texture from the cheese and egg mixture. She asked for the recipe not once but twice over the course of the weekend so that she could recreate it at home. I’d call that a success- thanks to Elise at Simply Recipes for such a tasty meal.
Zucchini ricotta frittata (serves 4)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small zucchini, or one larger one, washed and sliced into thin rounds (about 3/4 pound)
1. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the ricotta and Parmesan and beat to combine. Add the salt, freshly ground black pepper, basil and thyme and beat to combine. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch oven-proof stick-free skillet on medium high. When the oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add the zucchini slices. Stir so that the zucchini slices are all coated with some of the oil. Cook, stirring only occasionally (if you stir too much the zucchini won’t brown), until the zucchini slices are lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove zucchini slices from the pan with tongs or a slotted spoon to a bowl. Let cool for 30 seconds or so, and then stir the zucchini slices to the egg mixture.
3. Reheat the skillet. There should be a couple of tablespoons of oil left in the pan, if not, add some. When the oil is hot, pour the egg mixture into the pan. Do not stir it. Reduce the heat to medium. Let the egg mixture cook. Run a spatula along the edge of the frittata, separating the cooked edges from the pan. Let the egg mixture cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is beginning to set, about 5-6 minutes.
4. Set the top rack 5 inches from the heating element in the oven. Preheat the oven broiler. Once the top of the frittata has started to set in the pan on the stove top, remove the pan from the stove and place it in the oven. With the broiler on, the door of the oven needs to be open. You can let the pan’s handle stick out from the oven through the open door. Cook under the broiler until the top starts to become lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Alternatively, instead of using the broiler, you can place a plate face-down on top of the skillet. Flip the skillet over to release the frittata on to the plate. Then slide the frittata from the plate back on to the skillet. Let cook for a couple of minutes more until the bottom side gets browned.
5. Slide the frittata out of the skillet onto a serving plate. Let cool for a minute or two and serve.