I like to make the excuse that working on morning TV has turned me into somewhat of a morning person and a rather anti-social evening person. In truth, though, I’ve always been more keen to get going in the early hours of the morning and even more eager to snuggle under my douvet at the end of the day.
In lieu of this, Don and I decided to throw a Saturday brunch over a late night dinner party after a series of hostess faux-pas at past ones’ we’ve thrown. I’m referring to the moments where I’ve found myself openly yawning at the table as I slouch further and further down my chair towards the end of the evening. Of course It doesn’t help that most of our guests these days are students, whose hours and lifestyles rather contradict mine- late night drinking binges have become somewhat of a foreign entity to me.
So brunch it was and it absolutely had to involve eggs. (It would have also involved Heinz baked beans if they weren’t so bloody expensive). I’ve relished in eating soft boiled eggs with soldiers since I was a little girl. My siblings and I used to play a trick on my mum and dad where we would turn over our empty egg shell in it’s egg cup to make it look like we had not eaten it and then either offer it to my father (who was always on the look out for leftovers) or ask mum to cut the top off before bursting into fits of giggles when they discovered the empty shell. I’m not sure who invented this trick but it proved to be an unending source of amusement- one that I recently couldn’t resist trying on my always-on-the-look-out-for-seconds-fiancé.
I cannot even begin to describe the joy that I feel, even now dunking a freshly buttered toast soldier into a gorgeously deep orange-coloured yolk. Soft boiled eggs are one of the few foods that I find acceptable to call sexy. But regardless of their sex-appeal, cooking eggs to order for ten people was not the kind of work I had in mind, even if they would have my guests gagging for more. Besides I was intent on trying out Rick Tramonto’s tip for a beautifully risen frittata- which happened to be a sexy little trick in itself.
Making a frittata does require a little more work than a soft boiled egg but you can make it in advance and if you’re lucky you’ll have some left over for lunched during the week. I filled this with what I had in the fridge but you could quite easily replace the veggies, herbs and cheeses- making sure that if you use slow-cooking veggies that you par-cook them in advance. I’ve omitted the standard flip and finished the frittata under the grill- because not only do they look nicer this way but it’s a lot easier-and who really wants to risk serving a frittata that’s broken in two from a fumbled flip? Plainly speaking, that would be such a turn-off.
Courgette, mint & goats cheese frittata
Eggs are one of my favourite comfort foods but making perfect soft boiled eggs for 10 people is not the kind of stess I need in the morning- this is delicious cold for lunch the next day and can be served at room temperature- meaning no last minute dashes to the kitchen.
Diet Facts: A nutritious protein filled dish
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced (red, white, yellow or a bunch of spring onions will do)
8 large eggs (the best quality you can buy)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
zest of 1 large lemon
pinch baking powder
55g/ 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 bunch mint, roughly chopped
400g/14 oz courgette, sliced (about 1/4 cm/1/8 inch thick)
2 roasted red peppers, sliced (optional)
85g/3 oz rindless goats cheese, broken into rough chunks
1/ In a 12 inch non-stick frying pan (skillet) melt the butter and then add the onions, cover and sweat over a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until beginning to turn golden. Add a splash of water if they look dry.
2/ Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the eggs, salt and pepper, lemon zest, baking powder, Parmigiano and all but 2 Tbsp of the chopped mint.
3/ Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the courgette and red peppers, tossing to slightly wilt- about 5 minutes. Pour all of the contents of the pan into the eggs. Stir to combine and then return to the frying pan, stirring for 1 minute and making sure that the ingredients are evenly dispersed.
4/ Turn the heat down to low, cover and leave alone for 10 minutes. At this time, have a peak- check that the eggs are setting around the edges and not burning or sticking to the sides of the pan. Top with the goat cheese and cover for a further 5-10 minutes. It should be nearly set all the way through by this point. Remove the lid.
5/ Heat your grill (broiler) to high and place an oven rack a few inches from the heat source. Place the pan under the grill, for a couple of minutes, just to crisp up the edges. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes befores sprinkling with the remaining mint and cutting into wedges to serve