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On the pass: frittata

16-Jun-2013

Eggs are versatile ingredients – you can fry, poach or scramble them, set a cake with them, mix the whites with sugar and bake a pavlova, use the yolks to make ice cream, or a thousand other uses. Rocky Balboa drinks them raw. Sometimes, eggs done a bit differently can be a real treat. The dish may have the same ingredients, but they come together in a way that changes the texture and flavour. One of the best dishes I’ve ever had was in a mountain hut in the Austrian Alps, where they laid a few pieces of thick rye bread (not toast) in a cast-iron pan and then spread layers of parma ham, poached eggs and stinky mountain cheese over the top, before warming it all through in the oven. Yum.

It’s not hard to tweak your breakfast repertoire, and a few simple changes may lead to big improvements. One good example is the humble frittata. Our chefs call frittatas “grandma food”, but they still cook them a few mornings every week (and secretly pride themselves on just how light and fluffy they can make them). The trick is to make them with fewer eggs, not more.

Our chef, Josh Tippins, worked the breakfast shift at Vue De Monde in Melbourne, and can turn out a perfect mushroom and fetta frittata. His recipe (for 4 people) is 6 free range eggs, half a Spanish onion, one clove of garlic, 150g of Danish fetta, a tablespoon of fresh thyme or oregano, 150ml of pouring cream, 200g of Swiss brown mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste.

You need to sauté the onion, garlic, mushroom and herbs until soft (and don’t burn the garlic!), very lightly whisk the eggs and cream, and then combine the egg mixture with the fetta and sautéed ingredients. Eggs like salt and pepper, so unless you add some leg ham or bacon, make sure you add a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Meanwhile, soak some baking paper in warm water for 5 minutes to make it soft and pliable, and then line a small baking dish. Pour the mixture into the dish and bake for about 18 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Serve the frittata with warm sourdough bread and cherry tomatoes, or (and) enjoy a cold slice out of the fridge later in the day – small slices make a great savoury afternoon tea.

Mushroom fritatta at Pinetrees - Lord Howe Island

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