I love my cast iron skillet. Sturdy, even-tempered, versatile: it does all the saute and fry work you need on the stove top, ( incomparable for crusty country-fried chicken) and it does equally well in the oven ( key to crisp-edged jalapeno-cheddar cornbread).
Or, as in the case of this frittata, it can pull double duty, moving seamlessly from stovetop to oven. And then, as a serving vessel, right to the table.
All it asks in return is to be kept wiped clean and well-oiled.
Maggie found this one for me at an antique/junk shop. It was in excellent condition–balanced, right heft in the hand, no warps, flaws, or rust. Although it had been long out-of-use, it was already seasoned. It didn’t take much to clean it up, “reseason” it, and bring it back to life.
Well-cared for, it could last a lifetime. Or two.
Sometimes, it gets lost towards the bottom of my pots-and-pans drawer, a mammoth hodge-podge of stainless steel, enamel, and glass. And I forget to use it!
But, I’ve put my trusty cast iron to work for today’s recipe: a frittata, versatile as the skillet in which it’s cooked.
For our brunch, I used swiss chard, green onions, and basil, all fresh-picked from my front yard garden. I wanted to include roasted potatoes, and thought they would make a tasty crust-like base for the dish.
It’s a simple plan. While your potato slices are roasting brown and chippy in the oven, you saute the chard and onions, and whip up your eggs. Once the chard is ready, you’ll line the bottom of the skillet with the potatoes, and layer the savory greens on top.
Pour the beaten eggs and scatter the caramel, nutlike gruyere shreds over the mixture. Begin cooking the frittata on the stovetop, but you’ll finish it off it the oven. In the time that the frittata sets, you can put together a zippy basil-green onion gremolata.
The Gremolata? It came almost as an afterthought. I had picked a few too many basil leaves, and had a couple of extra green onions sitting out on the counter. I had a lemon out for iced tea. All the ingredients were staring me in the face–waiting.
I didn’t want to make a full-blown pesto—just a bright, extra flash of flavor for our dish. With their combination of sweet herby greens and lemon zest, gremolatas accomplish that easily. You can imagine its versatility, too. (grilled fish, baked chicken, pasta, potatoes..)
When it comes to any style of eggs, Bill tends to be a ketchup guy. But, he was able to set aside his love of Heinz for the bright change-up that this brings.
SWISS CHARD-ROAST POTATO FRITTATA
1 large or 2 med. Baking Potatoes
1 bundle Swiss Chard, washed and chopped–stems and leaves separately
a few fresh Basil leaves, chopped
1 small Onion, diced
a shake of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese
a few grindings of Black Pepper
9″ cast iron skillet (or one that can also go into the oven)
Slice potatoes thin. Brush with olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place into a preheated 375 degree oven and roast until slices are browned–about 12-15 minutes.
On medium heat, warm olive oil in your cast iron skillet, and saute chard stems and onions together, about 7 minutes. Stir in chard and basil leaves. Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Saute another 2-3 minutes, until leaves collapse. Remove from skillet and place into a work bowl.
Potato slices should be brown. Remove from oven and arrange slices on the bottom of the cast iron skillet. (Keep oven on, however.) Spoon cooked chard over the potato layer.
Beat eggs well with a little salt and pepper. Pour over chard and potatoes in the skillet. Top with grated cheese.
Cook the frittata covered on the stovetop until almost set—edges will be slightly brown but the center a little wiggly–tis takes about 8 minutes.
Finish the frittata in the oven–another 5 minutes or so. The egg mixture will be set, and the cheese will be browned and bubbly.
BASIL-GREEN ONION GREMOLATA
1/2 cup Basil Leaves rough chopped
2 Green Onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. fresh Lemon Juice, plus 1 t. zest
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mound the chopped basil and green onions together on a cutting board, and cut them up together–just a few chops. Put into a mixing bowl and add olive oil, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper. Stir well. Allow the flavors to develop and taste for acid and salt. Spoon over sliced frittata.