Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hearty Vegetarian: Herb Fritatta con Pepperonata

Usually when I eat a vegetarian meal that doesn’t involve pasta I think, this is nice, but I’m going to need to eat again in 15 minutes. I’m sure my vegetarian friends don’t agree, but plants don’t quite satisfy. Obviously frittatas aren’t plants. They aren’t vegan either. But they do constitute a hearty vegetarian meal – and a delicious one at that.

Fresh herbs and a sweet-sour pepperonata make this a unique sandwich. And it’s easy to make year round. I made it recently after harvesting herbs from my thriving AeroGarden . Pepperonata is like a cooked antipasto or Mediterranean chutney. It's comprised of red pepper, red onion, tomato and garlic. A splash of red wine vinegar gives it a tangy punch.

The herb frittata comes - almost without alteration - from Evan Kleiman’s Pizza Pasta Panini, a cookbook spawned by her LA restaurant, Angeli Caffè.

Herb Fritatta con Pepperonata
Print recipe only here
Serves 4

In 1-2 T olive oil, sauté over medium heat:
3-4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped

After a few minutes, add:
2 red peppers, cut into long, ½-inch wide strips

Sauté for another few minutes, stirring frequently, until the peppers soften. Add:
¼ cup red wine vinegar

Cover and cook for a few minutes. Then add:
3 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped OR ½ cup Muir Glen canned fire-roasted crushed tomatoes

Cook uncovered for another few minutes until the tomatoes become saucy and the mixture thickens a bit. Add:
1-2 T sugar
Kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

Set the pepperonata aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together:
8 eggs

¼ cup Parmesan
¾ cup mixed fresh herbs
Pinch kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat 1 T olive oil in a 10-12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Also spray the surface with canola spray.

Lower the heat to medium-low.

Pour the eggs in and using high heat spatula (or wooden spoon) stir eggs gently, scraping up sides and bottom, until the mixture is somewhat set (more solid than liquid).

To cook the top I find it's easiest to place the whole pan under the broiler – just keep a eye on it! Or feel free to attempt flipping (sliding the frittata out onto a plate and flipping that way works well).

When cooked, slide the frittata out onto a plate or cutting board.

Assembling frittata sandwich
Prep baguette or ciabatta, toasting if desired (you can also melt some provolone or mozzarella on the bread).

Drizzle a bit of the pepperonata sauce on the bottom half of the bread. Cut a wedge of frittata for each and place a piece on the bread. Top with a spoonful of pepperonata and serve.

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