We almost never do this, but we are enjoying Yotam Ottolenghi’s (YO) cookbook “Plenty” so much that we are posting another recipe. This wasn’t exactly by plan, but we like this recipe a lot and have the photos, so why not? And the other new cookbook we are working from that will go nameless
Nigella, isn’t working out quite as well- at least, not yet. But if this keeps up, YO may end up in Alice Waters’ territory as far as being a “go-to” source for vegetable recipes. In our part of the world that is lofty company (although we gather that this wouldn’t be a surprise in the UK).
Oddly enough, this frittata is more about the eggs and cheese than the cauliflower, but it is easy to make and tastes good (and the vegetables give at least the appearance of a healthy dish). That makes us happy. And using scamorza (smoked mozzarella) makes us even happier. This cheese melts evenly and has smoky, but clean, flavor that works incredibly well with the sweet, caramelized cauliflower. And YO then adds some smoked paprika and aged cheddar to accent the scamorza even more. If you haven’t tried smoked mozzarella, this recipe is worth a try. We bet you will want to use it in other recipes.
The other key to this dish is that YO uses crème fraîche, Dijon mustard and chives in the egg mixture (we added a little tarragon, as well). This adds sharp, herbal and tangy notes that cut the richness of the overall dish (even as the crème fraîche adds a good dose of fat). It’s these little things that make a big difference in the final dish. Without a little tang, this recipe might be all smoky cheese and eggs, good on the first bite, but probably overwhelming as a main dish. But those brighter notes make for a dish that is good from beginning to end. And if you serve this frittata with a nice green salad with a basic vinaigrette, the balance is even better.
Another good thing about this dish is that it is quick and easy. It will take about 30 minutes total, without a bunch of work. The only extra step is to boil the cauliflower a few minutes before you caramelize it. But this does soften the cauliflower and give you an even texture, so we think the work is worth it. And since the rest is so easy, you barely notice the extra work. Otherwise, this is frittata 101. Start it on the stove top, finish in the oven, let it cool just a bit and serve. A good payoff for the time spent. Happy Monday.
(Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty“)
Notes Before You Start:
What You Get: An easy dinner with extra flavor. A perfect weeknight dish.
What You Need: No special equipment required.
How Long? About 30 minutes, and an easy 30 minutes, at that. Anytime dish.
(Serves 4-6 as a main dish)
- 1 medium cauliflower cut into small florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons sweet, smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (optional)
- 5 oz. scamorza or smoked mozzarella, including the smoky rind, grated
- 2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the cauliflower in a medium pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly soft, 3-4 minutes. Drain the cauliflower.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Break the eggs into a large bowl and add the crème fraîche, mustard and paprika. Whisk until well combined. Fold in the chives and 3/4 of the grated cheeses.
- Place a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and then add the cauliflower. Cook the cauliflower, stirring occasionally, until it caramelizes and gets golden brown. Pour the egg mixture over the cauliflower and spread it around the skillet. Cook at medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Spread the remaining cheese over the frittata and then place it in the oven. Cook four 10-12 minutes, or until the inside sets.
- Remove the frittata from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Slice and serve.