Saturday, May 12, 2012

Foraged Garlic Mustard Frittata Recipe

Happy Mother's Day!
In honor of Mothers everywhere, I decided to share with you this wild version of a classic brunch food: the frittata.

Personally, I love a frittata for any occasion--or for any meal, for that matter. They are quick to whip up, pretty healthy, require minimal cleanup, and can be tossed together from whatever veggies and/or meat are left over in your fridge. They are also one of the cheapest meals you can make, since eggs are one of the most affordable protein sources in the market. And, the only way to make affordable food cheaper is to load it up with free stuff from the wild.

A frittata is really just a crustless quiche, and this recipe adapts well if you want to pour the mixture into a premade or homemade shell. I happened to have a bell pepper that wouldn't have made it much longer in the fridge, but broccoli, spinach, green beans, or any other of cultivated veggies would have done just as well--or leave them out entirely and just keep it wild.

Whatever other veggies you choose, I think keeping garlic mustard as the main ingredient is key. I really love the way the garlicy richness permeates through the egg mixture. I used leaves from the second year plant, when blanched, they are as tender as baby spinach, and far less bitter than kale.

Fully cooked & nicely browned on the edges
Many foragers feel the taste of garlic mustard is too overwhelming to use as a signature ingredient. They prefer to use it as a spice. I have found that blanching the leaves for a minute removes pretty much all bitterness, as well as the overwhelming pungency of the garlic flavor. I never hold back with garlic mustard, and use it as a leafy green, you can see the rich marbling of the leaves in the egg.

 6 eggs
3 lightly packed cups garlic mustard leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 large red potato
1/2 cup finely chopped ramp leaves (or substitute scallions)
1/2 jumbo white onion
1/2 bell pepper (optional)
1/3 cup of milk (optional)
3 oz shredded cheese (I used a blend of Parmesan, Asiago and Romano)
1 tsp. salt (kosher or sea salt work best)
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp oil or butter
Garlic mustard flowertops (optional, for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Chop up your potato into roughly 1/2 inch cubes. You can peel if you like, but I like the splash of color the pink skins leave in the finished product. And, of course, most of a potato's nutrients are in the skin.
  3. Heat about 4 quarts of salted water to boiling, and add the cubed potatoes. Taste one of the potatoes after about 4 minutes. It should be just underdone. Add the chopped garlic mustard leaves and boil for 1 more minute. Drain potatoes and garlic mustard.
  4. In the same sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil or butter. Add the onion and bell pepper (if using), or any other raw veggies you like. Saute until soft and ever so slightly brown. Remove from heat.
  5. Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl. The milk is optional, but I find it makes the eggs extra fluffy. Mix in the garlic mustard, potato, onions, bell pepper, cheese, ramps (or scallions), 1 tsp. salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Coat a 9x9 baking pan, or two 6" round casserole dishes, with non-stick spray, butter or oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan(s). If you prefer to make a quiche, pour the mixture into two precooked shells instead.
  7. Cook at 350 for about 35-45 minutes, for a 9x9 pan. If splitting the recipe into 2 pans, check for done-ness at 25 minutes. Frittatas are done when the edges have just started to turn golden brown, and a butter knife can be slid into the center and come out clean. 
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
Serves 4-6
(This recipe holds up well to doubling, and makes a great dish to bring to potlucks)

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