We don’t want to make it sound uncool but is there anything more dependable and versatile than a good frittata? Warm from the pan or cold from the fridge, for a late night supper or a lazy brunch, as welcome in a kid's lunchbox as on a grown-up’s grazing platter…. But wait, there’s more! They’re also packed with protein and infinitely customizable, thriftily using up whatever herbs, cheeses and leftover vegetables you have in the fridge. The only non-negotiable element is the best eggs you can get your hands on – otherwise, go knock yourself out with whatever idiosyncratic combination strikes you: roast pumpkin, sage and goats cheese; zucchini, parmesan and mint; chorizo, roast red peppers and potato (uneasily aware here that chorizo may not be strictly a vegetable).
This particular recipe is for an elegant, classic frittata of leeks, spinach and mushrooms. We deliver the Dinner Ladies version as an uncooked mixture dished up in a pulp tray that can just be popped straight in the oven to bake (no washing up! Genius!) but when making it from scratch, as we are here, we’d probably go the more traditional route of starting the frittata in a frying pan on the stove top and finishing it in the oven.
1-2 tbsp olive oil
200g mushrooms (whatever kind you like), sliced finely
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper
½ an onion, peeled and sliced finely
2 leeks, ends removed and sliced finely
1 clove garlic, minced
40g baby spinach
8 free-range eggs, whisked
80ml single cream
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
Zest of half a lemon
Sprig of thyme, plucked
40g Parmesan, grated
2 tbs parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 180C.
Heat olive oil in a medium non-stick oven-proof frying pan and fry the mushrooms until nicely browned. Season with salt and pepper and remove.
Add more oil if necessary and gently cook the onion, leeks and garlic till sweet and soft. Stir in the mushrooms and baby spinach and stir till wilted. Cook on till any water has evaporated – if there’s still water left, pour it off.
In a stainless steel mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the single cream and add salt, pepper, lemon zest, thyme, parmesan and parsley.
On a medium heat, pour the egg mixture over the cooked vegetables and swirl around, using a wooden spoon or spatula to make sure the two elements are well combined.
Cook gently for 5 minutes on the stove top then place the frying pan in the preheated oven. Cook until golden on top and just set in the middle, which may take from 10-15 minutes, so check regularly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until able to be handled.
Slide a spatula or palette knife around the frying pan to loosen the frittata. Find two plates bigger than the frying pan and place one plate over frittata. Using two hands and teatowels to hold the plate firmly against the pan, invert the whole thing and (fingers crossed) lift the pan off the frittata, which by now should be bottom up on the plate. Flip again onto the other plate so that it’s pretty side up and serve in generous slices, warm or at room temperature.