Monday, 15 August 2011

A Frittata that tastes like Summer

When I’m being nosey and I’m looking at what some people have typed into Google to get to my blog I feel that I may have let a few people down. I’m not sure that all three of the people who typed in to the Google search box; ‘Hot Sweet Cherry’, intended to get to a recipe on how to make a classic French pudding. But perhaps it gave them a tantalising idea on how to cook up a little more romance into their lives.

Likewise, the person needing advice on how to deal with the terrible affliction of ‘finger burns’ from smoking a particular illegal substance more than likely retreated quickly from my blog; or read on in desperation and discovered that sailing gloves could be the way forward. Or oven gloves, both a viable consideration for avoiding burns to the fingers. Of any kind.

Maybe I have been useful after all.

But the most common search questions, where I feel I can be of most help, have been ‘Why is my frittata soggy?’ and similar frittata worries. Now that’s right up my ally. I thought I’d put in this very light salmon and leek frittata with goats cheese and I’ll explain about the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of frittata making as I go.  It’s a real simple, light summer dish that looks so pretty and makes for a great crew lunch. It even tastes like summer.

For Smoked salmon and leek frittata you will need;

3 leeks, the white parts only (the sweetest bits) finely sliced and washed
About 1 medium pack smoked salmon or around 4 decent slices, sliced!
8 eggs beaten
3 medium potatoes, sliced and boiled till cooked
1 tsp fennel seeds
80g soft, mild goat’s cheese
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped dill


  • Sauté the leeks in some olive oil and 1 tsp sugar and a good pinch of salt over a medium heat in a large non-stick frying pan. Make sure the leeks don’t brown; you’re just looking to soften them. Sauté till good and soft and any escaping liquid has been absorbed, about 10-12 minutes.

  • Now this is important because if you don’t do this before you put the eggs in then you will get a soggy frittata! Any vegetable that you use that has a high water content must be sautéed before you add the eggs or they will release their water as they cook in the egg. In fact all vege’s should be sautéed. Also fresh mozzarella is best avoided because this has the tendency to ooze water out after the eggs have been added. Mushrooms should be well sautéed till they have gone a lovely intense mushroomy brown. And I rarely add tomatoes to a frittata.

  • Add the cooked sliced potatoes to the leeks and the fennel seeds and continue to sauté for a few minutes, mixing them well but gently so the potatoes don’t break up.

  • Turn the heat right down to very low and add the smoked salmon pieces, sort of resting them over the top of the leeks and then do the same with the goat’s cheese. Sprinkle with the fresh dill and parsley and then pour over the beaten eggs.

  • I use a fork or small knife to jiggle the eggs into all the ingredients so that the eggs get to the bottom and bond with everything in the pan. Keep the pan on the very low heat for about 5-8 minutes then put the frittata under the grill to brown the top.

  • Once the top has browned put the frittata back on the heat but again on a very low flame. This should take about another 10-15 minutes before the whole thing has cooked through. If you have the strange notion that a frittata should be bunged in an oven for half an hour then please try the method I am suggesting; stiff over-cooked egg is disappointing at best. Like a steak, give the frittata a little poke and you should be able to tell when it has cooked through. It should be set but creamy and delicious not stiff and rubbery.

  • Let the frittata rest in the pan for a while before serving to ‘set’. Then making sure the edges are free from the sides with a pliable spatula or palette knife, turn the frittata onto a board. I like to turn mine over again so that it is as it was in the pan but on a pretty serving plate or rustic wooden chopping board.

Serve with a cold glass of rosé and take all afternoon about it too.

Palma is so incredibly hot. It’s like breathing soup. I can’t bare it. But I’m looking forward to the racing which starts on Wednesday. If we have some breeze I shall be a different person, full of my usual beans.

So please join me for regatta adventures. Sian and I are very excited about the Gin and Tonic tasting on Saturday night. And of course the racing. But equally serious for both events.

Thanks for reading.