Do Ahead Frittata
There are varying schools of thought on having a planned delivery of a baby. The detractors say it takes the magic out of having a baby because it turns nature into something clinical. Having had three deliveries….one spontaneous and two scheduled….I can tell you two things. Most women want to have a spontaneous birth but there comes a time when the doctors aren’t down with that and you have to decide if you know more than them or not. Secondly, none of the magic goes away (we are still talking about the miracle of childbirth) and so it just helps to ease into the abyss to know that you can go get your hair and nails done, clean the sheets on the guest bed, go grocery shopping and spend time with friends for a few days before the big day. With that in mind, and with a planned delivery approaching, Nick and the kids and I made it a point to see friends the weekend before Powers made her grand appearance in our family and we went underground for six weeks.
The last social Sunday brunch we had was with our friends Mollye & Laurent. The menu was simple and perfect: Fresh squeezed blood orange mimosas, a gorgeous fruit salad and an absolutely perfect frittata: light and fluffy, just a little crispy on the edges, full of flavour but not too strong. Honestly, it was the best brunch dish I’ve ever had.
Memories of that brunch, and my life before being the mother of three, stayed with me for weeks. I knew that as soon as I had the energy I wanted to replicate Mollye & Laurent’s success, but, with a new baby, I knew it was unlikely that I would be able to wash, chop, saute, season and then cook anything and have it on the table before midnight. That left me with the option of either serving a frittata for midnight feast or figuring out a way to split up the work.
I went with the second option and I’m going to stop now and let you know that you really owe me one for this. This is one of those recipes that I wondered about saving for a cookbook but decided it was unfair to hold it back.
Mollye started with an Ina Garten recipe so I did the same. I then worked backward to see what could be prepped, what could be combined, and how it should be stored. It all worked out pretty quickly. Here’s the idea: While you are cooking dinner you do a bit of prep, you cook the potatoes, mix the eggs, chop up the basil. Then you stick it in jars in the fridge. The next morning, preheat the oven, put it all in a pan (the same one that you used the night before) stick it in the oven and, voila, 50 minutes later a piping hot absolutely perfect frittata.
Invite the in-laws! Let them think you woke up at the crack of dawn for them. There’s nothing wrong letting them think you are Superwoman. I think you are.
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
- 8 tablespoons (115 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled.
- 2 cups peeled and 1/2-inch diced boiling potatoes (4 potatoes)
- 8 large eggs
- 15 ounces (425 g) ricotta cheese
- 3/4 pounds (350 g) Comte or Emmenthalar cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup (40 g) flour
- 3/4 teaspoon (3.5 g) baking powder
- Place a 9 to 11-inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the oil, then add about 1/3 of the butter. Quickly after that add the potatoes and cook them, turning frequently, until most are browned on at least two sides. This should take 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into a large bowl and let cool. Do not wash the cast iron pan.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, then stir in the ricotta, Gruyere, the remaining butter, salt and pepper. Mix well and pour into a large Ball Jar or other storage container. Put it in the refrigerator.
- Measure out the flour and baking powder and put in a small bowl. Stir to fully mix and then cover with cling wrap and put in the refrigerator near the egg mixture.
- Combine the chopped basil with the potatoes and mix with your hands or a large spoon. When evenly combined, put the mixture into a Ball Jar or another storage container. Place in the refrigerator near the egg mixture.
- Take the three containers out of the refrigerator. Heat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.
- Once the oven is preheated, open the container with the egg mixture and as evenly as possible sprinkle on the flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture. If you used a Ball Jar you can also shake the whole thing. You want the flour mixture evenly combined with the egg mixture.
- Pour the potato and basil mixture into the cast iron pan. Then pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata until it is browned and puffed, 50 minutes to 1 hour. It will be rounded and firm in the middle and a knife inserted in the frittata should come out clean. Serve hot.