We've just completed the renovation of our backyard, with new deck, patio, arbour, outdoor fireplace and landscaping. It's now a lovely setting for dinner alfresco, transporting us to a villa in Provence or Tuscany, with the help of a great meal. It's spring and the weather is delightful. If it gets cool in the evening, we start a fire and it's magic, savoring the night with family and friends over simple fare.
I happen to think eggs are the most useful edible there is. Recently, I made a lovely frittata with pancetta, potatoes, chives and jack cheese. The beauty of the frittata is, it takes so little effort and adapts to any vegetable or cheese you have around. I topped it with a divine roasted tomato-basil sauce that makes anything better and accompanied the plate with olive oil brushed baguette slices spread with goat cheese and a simple salad. For the frittata:
3 tbls olive oil, divided
2 tbls butter
4 oz. diced pancetta
2 cups diced new potatoes
10 eggs beaten
2 egg whites, beaten with whole eggs
1/2 cup half 'n half
1 cap grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup chopped Chives
salt & pepper to taste
Heat 1 tbls olive oil in a 12 inch, nonstick, slope sided skillet over medium low heat. Add pancetta and cook stirring frequently until the fat begins to render. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
Adjust heat to keep fat from smoking. Cook for five minutes then add potatoes, stirring frequently so potatoes do not stick. When they have begun to brown, after about 8-10 minutes, remove them and pancetta to a bowl for later. While skillet cools, combine the eggs half 'n half in a large bowl. Whisk until combined, then add chives and cheese. Clean the skillet thoroughly and add the remaining oil and butter and over medium low heat. Make sure the sides of the skillet are thoroughly coated with the butter and oil mixture. Return the potatoes and pancetta to the skillet arranging them in an even layer
in the bottom of the pan. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and pancetta and let cook just until the edge starts to set. Run a spatula around the edge and let the egg run over the side. Add any extra grated cheese you desire and put the skillet in the oven for about 8 minutes. It should just be brown and puffy on top and done in the middle. Test with a tooth pic. Serves 6.
Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce
10 Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup basil leaves or a 1 oz. pkg, stems removed
1 small shallot diced
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 tbls balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
Halve, seed and core tomatoes. A mellon baller and small paring knife are good utensils for this. Arrange tomato halves, cupped up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Distribute the diced shallot in the cupped tomato halves. Sprinkle tomatoes with kosher salt and pepper, then drizzle liberally with olive oil. Roast tomatoes for 1 hour, rotate the baking sheet, then increase the oven temperature to 400. Roast 30 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Carefully lift the parchment paper and slide the tomatoes and juices into a food processor. Add basil. While processing run 1/4 cup olive oil through feed tube (more if desired). Add balsamic vinegar and adjust seasoning. Process until just combined. Serve warm or cold.
- Recipes & Random Thoughts
- I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.