When you love food as much as I do, it helps to have friends who feel the same way. If I rave about a recipe I just tried, or describe a dinner I just ate in detail, I don’t feel like my words fall upon deaf ears. Instead, my feast becomes their feast, and my culinary adventures become their own.
My friend Stephanie and I met in graduate school, and we immediately bonded over our love of cooking. Our first winter in Chicago, she introduced me to one of the best egg dishes I’ve ever tried: Broccoli Skillet Flan. The recipe is from the now, sadly defunct Gourmet magazine, and we adapted it to fit our tastes: Originally, the flan calls for a hash brown crust on the bottom, but I’m not a huge fan of hash browns, and neither of us felt like grating potatoes. So we skipped that step, and stuck to the flan.
I had never heard of a savory flan before–usually, I would eat a sweet, caramelized version for dessert when I was living abroad. The recipe exceeded my expectations: It was light and fluffy, but hearty and filling at the same time. We subbed Gruyere cheese in for the cheddar, and the salty, slightly tangy taste complemented the eggs and broccoli. Also, we used thawed frozen broccoli in our original attempt, but I have since used fresh chopped broccoli. Either way, the dish will still taste delicious–so feel free to use whichever fits your energy level.
Last weekend, Stephanie sent me another egg recipe that immediately caught my eye: “Tasty Frittata.” The picture alone was enough to entice me to make it, but it also came highly recommended with a “#delicious.”
Ironically, the part of the recipe that I questioned the most was the element that brought everything else together: the cilantro chile sauce. When I read the ingredients list, it sounded more like something you would make to drizzle on top of tacos or enchiladas, but I took a chance and decided to give it a try.
I was not disappointed. The cilantro sauce gave the dish a nice kick, and moved the frittata from above average to truly delicious. The caramelized, sweet red onions balanced out the saltiness in the eggs, the yellow squash and potatoes added a crunchy texture. I also liked the goat cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds as a garnish. The dish would probably taste just as good without them, but the cheese balances out the spicy sauce, and the pumpkin seeds add a nice, smoky flavor.
The best part about both of these dishes? They come together quickly in one skillet. So you can do other things…like explore D.C. in the springtime.
Cilantro Chile Frittata (slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
Cilantro Chile Sauce
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 small bunch cilantro
1 green (serrano) chile, seeds removed
2 pinches ground cumin
a couple big pinches of salt
6 large organic eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
3 small potatoes, very very thinly sliced
1/2 cup yellow squash,1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
couple pinches of salt
Preheat your oven to 450F degrees. Make the cilantro chile sauce by pureeing the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, chile, cumin, and salt until very smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk the eggs with a small pinch of salt. Set aside. In a (small) 8 1/2-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil, onion, and another pinch of salt. Saute, stirring constantly, until the onion starts to brown, 5 – 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and squash, cover, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Slide everything out of the skillet onto a plate and set aside.
Turn down the heat a bit. Using the same skillet, add the eggs and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until the eggs are just set and there isn’t a lot of liquid running around the pan. To facilitate this, run a spatula underneath the sides of the frittata and tilt the pan so the uncooked eggs run to the underside and cook. Drizzle the eggs with a few tablespoons of the cilantro chile sauce, now sprinkle the potato onion mixture over the top.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 9 minutes, or until well set and puffy. Add a crumble of goat cheese and the pumpkin seeds across the top of the frittata in the final 2 minutes of baking. Remove from oven (be careful the handle is hot!), cut into wedges and serve.
Serves 2 to 4.
Broccoli Skillet Flan (adapted from Gourmet)
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Gruyere
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1 (10-oz) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed (or 10 oz of fresh chopped broccoli)
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
Whisk together eggs, milk, pepper, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined, then whisk in Gruyere and 3 tablespoons Parmesan.
Heat oil in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shallot, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and spread broccoli over shallot, then pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake until set 2 inches from edge but still slightly wobbly in center, 12 to 15 minutes.
Turn on broiler. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until top is set, puffed, and golden brown.
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