We’re just back after a rare two-week family holiday and are still getting to grips with the wildness that sprang up outside in our absence. It’s funny how the grass and weeds made it look as though we’d been away for two months, but the vegetable beds looked much less advanced. It was a crazy time of year to be away, having just put plants and new trees in the ground and prepped more seed block trays, but there you go.
Our youngest was the keener who ran almost immediately down to the fields and to check out the greenhouse; he came back with the report that my winter kale (plants that I originally seeded indoors this past winter) was extremely happy and ready for harvesting. As I’m the one who seems to have come back from holiday feeling sick (fortunately this only came up on the way home), I gratefully agreed that he could go back to the greenhouse with scissors and a basket to harvest some of the kale.
I still haven’t done a proper shop since coming home – just eggs, milk, butter and bread (that’s right, my husband hasn’t baked a loaf in the 36 hours since we got home!) – but it didn’t take me long to know that a frittata would be the way to go for supper thanks to having fresh kale from the garden. Frittatas are, in my view, one of the most wonderfully versatile formats for cooking and a great framework for meals that are both healthful and delicious. They are a frequent work-week lunch as we are fortunate enough to work from home, and often appear at suppertime, especially during the harvest months when it’s easy to pair a slice with some greens from the garden and a fresh tomato or two right off the vine.
Most of my frittatas begin with chopped onion (I wish I’d had red onion last night, as the colour would have been beautiful with the kale, but I made up for that with dried cranberries) and some garlic in a pan. I’m a serial burner of garlic, but it never comes to too much harm in my slightly too-hot pan.
Unlike other leafy greens such as spinach and chard, kale leaves are quite tough, and so they go into the pan immediately on the heels of the onion.
If you search the internet for kale frittata recipes, you’ll find an awful lot making use of purple potatoes. This is a great pairing, but I was looking to do something less stodgy and was also without any purple potatoes. I wanted a bit of colour and something nice to contrast the kale, and decided that a combination of dried currants and cranberries would do. I’ve used this combination before with good success and happen to love the sweet flavourful bursts from dried fruit. I also sprinkled a few red pepper flakes in at this stage (a favourite of mine for a tiny bit of unexpected heat).
I almost always add cheese of some kind to a frittata and feta cheese would have been my first pick at this point, but I had to go with parmesan, which I had half a block of in the fridge. After breaking the eggs into a bowl I blended in my salt and pepper. As I was going with parmesan, I also made the uncharacteristic decision of adding in a small handful of fresh basil leaves from the pot on my windowsill.
A slow cook over low heat once the eggs are added, and 90 seconds under the grill to finish and gently brown the top are all that’s needed.
Kale frittata with dried cranberries and currants
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced (yellow or purple)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5-6 large leaves of curly or other kale, chopped
2 tbs dried currants
2 tbs dried cranberries
2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Step 1 – heat olive oil in a heavy saute pan and chop onion and mince garlic; add to pan once warmed
Step 2 – hand shred or chop kale and add to pan shortly after onions and garlic; I usually end up adding a bit of water to the pan to allow the kale to cook a little longer before the next steps
Step 3 – add red pepper flakes, dried fruit to pan; lower the heat to just above ‘low’
Step 4 – break eggs into a bowl and quickly beat with a fork, adding freshly grated parmesan and additional seasonings (in this case, basil, salt and pepper); mix everything together
Step 5 – pour egg and cheese mixture into the pan and stir gently so that vegetable mixture blends well with egg mixture; preheat grill
Step 6 – cook over low heat on the stove top until the frittata is setting well and just the top remains liquid
Step 7 – slip the pan under your grill for about 90 seconds, or until the top of the frittata is lightly browned
Step 8 – allow the pan to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving
When my chard is ready it will be a frequent main player in my frittatas, as will sweet peppers and leeks. I love to use chorizo sausage as an accent, and have fun playing with different cheeses and companion flavours in general. If you have a favourite frittata combination or suggestion, I’d love to hear it.