Growing up in a Japanese household, our dining table was always filled with little plates of osouzai at dinner time – a small plate of pickled vegetable here, root vegetable cooked in soy sauce there. My mother was never satisfied with having just one main dish with the daily bowl of rice and miso soup, and she would go the extra mile to prepare additional something to go with dinner, even if it feel unnecessary at times.
While I adore that aspect of the Japanese culinary tradition, I also like the idea of having a bowl of something and nothing else, like the way Italians savor a big bowl of spaghetti.
Inspired by the casual, family-style dinner of our European friends, I decided to make frittata, an Italian omelet (and the champion of one-dish meal), for dinner.
Frittata is everything I look for in a simple summertime meal – piles of fresh summer vegetable and big hunks of cheese, warmly hugged in fluffy egg custard. Several handfuls of fresh herbs add a beautiful touch to this versatile dish that can disguise as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Because it can be served piping hot out of the oven or at room temperature, it makes a perfect romantic dinner, as well as a perfect picnic food. Can you imagine eating a piece of frittata with chilled glass of Chardonnay at an outdoor picnic? Aaah, I love summer!
Frittata with Summer Vegetables
(Serves 6 – 8, dinner portion)
3 medium size zucchinis, chopped
1 medium size red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 large onion (you can use less … but I just love the sweetness of summer onions)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
3 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
4 large Roma tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
10 large eggs
1- 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
1 cup Fontina cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
① Preheat the oven to 375 degree F.
② Sauté chopped zucchinis, bell pepper, onions, tomatoes and garlic in olive oil in a medium saucepan for about 8 minutes until vegetables are cooked but not yet translucent. I used my Le Cruset for even heating. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and add corn.
③ In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Dijon mustard and parsley until eggs are light and fluffy. Add Fontina cheese and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
④ Grease the casserole lightly with olive oil. Pour a small portion of the egg mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish.
⑤ Pour the vegetable mixture evenly onto the casserole dish and pour the remaining egg mixture on top. Make sure that Fontina is evenly distributed.
⑥ Put the casserole dish in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes until the outer layer is firm to touch. Sprinkle Parmesan and chive on top, and bake in the oven until the Parmesan browns and the fork comes out clean when inserted in the center.
I served the Frittata with a side of spinach salad with grilled shrimp, dressed in homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and washed it all down with a bottle of Blackstone Merlot. And for dessert, peaches cooked in agave syrup topped with whipped creme fraiche!