Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apple & white cheddar frittata

Happy Tuesday and election day, friends!  I can't believe it's November already.  In fact, I was in denial yesterday, the first day of November, writing "10/10" on papers at work.  Woops.  Brain fart.

But, you'd never know it was November, anyway, because Christmas decorations are out in full force!  I know I sound like an old lady saying this, but doesn't it seem like stores put out holiday items earlier and earlier?  I spotted some in Target the week BEFORE Halloween!  What the what?!  Why does fall get skipped and ignored?  Though I'll admit that winter is my favorite season, I do love fall for mainly two reasons: 1) photographic opportunities, and 2) edible possibilities due to the harvest.  Obviously!

Remember the field trip that prompted me to purchase 10 pounds of apples?  We had such a great day, and I was so excited to have that bag of fruit.  But now, folks, it's time to see what this little cook can do with a half peck of fall's greatest in her kitchen.  I'm really glad I forced myself to do a little homework and jot down a few recipes that showcased apples before the drive out into the country.  If I hadn't, I'd either be a) eating apples with every meal, or b) making seventy-plus trips to the grocery store this week to pick up supplemental ingredients to use up the apples.  At least that mile walk to and from the grocery store is good exercise, right?

Thankfully, I did plan ahead and should be able to steer clear of Market District until Sunday.  What I brought home, well, I think you'd be just as surprised as I was.  I picked up a pork tenderloin, cheese, eggs, ham... just to name a few items.  Not to be used all together, of course.  As far as apple recipes go, let's not kid ourselves, pie is number one.  Rightfully so.  But, since I'd just made pie, I wanted to find some new uses for apples, some sweet, but even more savory.  Stay tuned in to see :)

The first recipe picked from the bunch has been on my radar since roughly August.  A savory apple and cheddar frittata... intriguing.  What is a frittata, you ask?  A super simplification would be a baked omelet.  Think a quiche without a crust.  A frittata usually begins its journey stove-top and crosses the finish line in the oven with the help of a cast-iron or oven-safe skillet.  I've fallen madly in love with my C.I.S. since I received it for my birthday this summer.  It's laughingly inexpensive and worth ten times more.  You can use it to cook pancakes, frittatas, cakes, brownies, cornbread, whole chickens... the possibilities are endless!  I've heard stories of someone having a C.I.S. for a lifetime, each use seasoning the pan more and more.  Do yourself a favor and pony up the $15-20 to purchase one for your kitchen.  You won't be disappointed!

What a tangent that was.  Told you I loved my C.I.S.  Anyway, this frittata.  What it lacks in the number of ingredients (3, not counting salt and pepper) makes up for in unique flavor and texture.  I will totally admit my skepticism was unwarranted.  Apples and cheese in an egg dish?  Um, brilliance, people!  The apples are mildly sweet while the cheddar cheese is sharp and salty.  The eggs are fluffy, just like good scrambled ones.  The whole thing is a cake walk to assemble, though any weight exercises you've been doing at the gym will prove beneficial when lifting the heavy C.I.S. :)

This last thing, well, I hesitate to mention it, because it's a pretty scary word.  But, this dish is pretty darn healthy and rounded.  It may seem like a lot of eggs, but it works out to 2 1/2 eggs per serving.  Add 1/2 an apple and a 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, and you've got yourself an amazingly balanced meal. 

Apple Cheddar Frittata
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
-serves 4

A few notes: None really.  As per the suggestion, I served with a green salad topped with toasted walnuts and a balsamic dressing.  Amazing!  This reheats well, too, for breakfast or lunch the next day.  Finally, if you have any bacon lying around, feel free to throw some in with the eggs.

8 large eggs + 2 large egg whites
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
Ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
2 Gala (or other firm) apples, peeled, cored, sliced into 1/8-inch thin pieces

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, with rack positioned in top third.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, and half of the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Coat a medium cast-iron or ovenproof skillet with nonstick spray, heating over medium.  Add egg mixture.  While it cooks, 1 to 2 minutes until edge is set, arrange apples on top in a circular pattern, starting from the outside edge, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Transfer skillet to oven.  Bake until frittata is set in the center and cheese is browned, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  Using a rubber spatula, release frittata onto cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve.

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