Apologies for going A.W.O.L this last week, but I ran off to Galway (my grannys house in broadband-free countryside to be precise) with my little one for a few days to absorb as much sunshine as humanly possible. Returning with a pink forehead and suitably worn out child I have a rapid-fire post for you. I was a little unsure about choosing this frittata recipe because I've posted one before and the swiss chard I used in this one is not always readily available, in Limerick at least, but spinach is a more than acceptable substitute and frittata's are a great way of getting children to try new vegetables, so I'll carry on.
In season from now until the end of the autumn, I got some chard from a friends garden and had it in the pan less than an hour after it came out of the ground. It had already begun to wilt and I guess it's short shelf-life is one of the reasons for it's lack of availability. Chard is actually a member of the beet family and if you are fortunate enough to get your hands on fresh beetroot with a luxurious head of beautiful purple-veined leaves then these are another worthy substitute in this recipe ( Limerick folk need look no further than the Milk Market on Saturday mornings). Swiss chard comes in a variety of colours: green, white, yellow and red or even a rainbow mix of all four, called, surprisingly enough, rainbow chard. For convenience I'm going to stick to the green variety. Keep an eye out for vibrant green leaves and white stems no thicker than your thumb and keep refrigerated for no more than three days.
Intensely flavoured and nutrient rich (vitamin C, iron, potassium and magnesium to name a few) it is best to cook it as briefly as possible to retain it's colour, flavour and valuable nutrients. I loved this recipe because all the chard juices released into the pan are absorbed into the frittata, the slow-cooked onions sweetening their iron-rich, slightly bitter tang. The Parmesan adds protein making this an excellent choice for vegetarians. I was actually out of Parmesan (yes, I did feel as if I was missing a culinary limb) so I used Emmental, but any good melting cheese would work. It tastes just as good cold so make twice as much as you need, eating it with salad and crusty bread for dinner then cutting it into portable wedges for lunch or even a picnic the following day.
I'm hoping our leftovers will offset the effects of the warm chocolate muffins we had for breakfast this morning.
SWISS CHARD FRITTATA
- 25g butter
- 3 tbsp oil, sunflower or olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 200g chard (or spinach)
- 5 eggs
- 5 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan (or Emmental or Gruyere)
- salt and pepper
- Melt the butter with the oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and cook for ten minutes until sweet and soft, but not brown. Trim of any rough ends at the bottom of the chard and wash well. Cut out the stems, chop and put them in the pan. Cook for two minutes. Chop the chard leaves and add these to the pan seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is soft about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile beat the eggs and Parmesan (or whatever cheese you are using) well in a bowl. Pour the mixture over the chard in the pan, still on the heat, and stir briefly. Leave it alone for a few minutes as the bottom will cook first.
- When the frittata moves around in the pan like a fat pancake but is still wet on top, place it under a medium grill for 5-10 minutes, until the top firms but is still a little soft. Keep an eye on it as you don't want it to dry out. Serve warm with a crisp green salad and crusty bread, or cold on a picnic.