Thursday, July 27, 2006

Zucchini Frittata

I say zucchini, the lovely (English) boyfriend says courgette, which proves yet again where you grew up will always be with you. In Australia, and the US, courgettes are called zucchinis - both versions are the diminutive of marrow in Italian or French. Apparently they were called zucchinis here originally till a 19th century craze for all things culinary to be named in French changed things. When I told my sweetheart this little snippet of useless information he smiled and said 'Moi? Pretentious?'

Whatever you call them they are a lovely summer vegetable, their light nutty flavour cooking to a melting softness making them a very versatile element for a meal. Their flavour and texture marries well with others - dairy, pasta, spices, or combined with other vegetables as in the classic ratatouille - all make great combinations.

This dish is really easy to make and quick, so it's great for a mid week supper with a little salad and bread. It also looks very impressive when it comes out from under the grill too - always a bonus I find.

Zucchini Frittata

500g/1lb zucchini (courgette)
1 clove garlic, crushed
4-5 large free range eggs
1 tbspn butter
1 tbspn olive oil
4 tpsn grated Parmesan cheese or other strong hard cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash and slice zucchinis into rounds as thick as a pound coin. Heat oil and butter together and gently fry the garlic for a minute, then add the zucchinis and stir to coat. Season and cover and cook over a low heat, stirring once or twice, for 20 - 30 minutes until it is meltingly soft and a little golden round the edges.

Beat the eggs till foaming. Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Turn heat under the pan to high and take the lid off. Stir the zucchinis gently, then, when the pan is very hot, pour over the beaten eggs. It should start to set almost immediately. When it is about half set and starting to puff up (4 - 5 minutes) sprinkle the cheese over the top and whip it under the preheated grill. When it is all puffed and golden (another 4 - 5 minutes) remove from the grill. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into wedges and serving using a fish slice.

Don't look too closely at the accompanying picture - the green veg is leek but I didn't take a photo of the zucchini dish... oops!

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