Grilled vegetarian frittata
Hello, Summer of the Frittata!
For quick, light and healthy meals, you can’t top the combination of eggs and vegetables. Last year, my summer go-to quick meal was shakshuka, with its spicy, tomatoey, yolky goodness. This year, frittatas and migas have stolen my heart. (Tex-Mex migas — my favorite variation — are basically frittatas with strips of fried corn tortillas and salsa added to the mix, and sometimes stuffed into flour tortillas and eaten like a taco. I purchased a cast iron tortilla press on impulse last weekend, so fresh, homemade tortillas will be in good supply at Casa SoupAddict.)
I’m here today to remind you that, as with so many of summer’s best, simple meals, this one is grillable (grillable = cool house + minimal clean-up). And with an abundance of fresh farm eggs available locally, dinner is as easy as wandering through the garden, picking the day’s harvest (or raiding leftovers in the fridge) and firing up the grill.
This post also gives me a chance to highlight my current culinary interest: ancient seeds — hemp and chia (and flaxseed, of course).
Billed as superfoods, these tiny omega-3-stuffed darlings can be tossed into just about anything, from smoothies to baked goods to salads. Chia seeds also have a good dose of soluble fiber that acts as a thickener when soaked in water — handy for vegetarians and vegans avoiding gelatin.
Here, I sprinkled about a tablespoon of hemp and chia seeds over the eggs before they cooked through for an extra boost of healthy goodness.
The little curly guy in the picture of veggies (middle, left) is a garlic scape from my garden. I’m positively buried in scapes at the moment and will be freezing the last batch tonight. If you find scapes at the farmers’ market or in your CSA box, rejoice! When cooked — chop them up as you would scallions (discard the flower heads) — their flavor mellows to lovely roasted-garlic levels in a way that even garlic itself doesn’t achieve when sauteed. (But strangely, when raw, scapes are a bit strong, so use restraint when tossing into salads or incorporating into dressings and pestos.)
For folks tip-toeing around the edges of vegetarianism, do check out the wide variety of meat substitutes available (get thee to a Whole Foods, if your big-box grocery lacks selection, as mine does). I really like tempeh (pronounced tem-pay — there’s much you can do with it in terms of flavoring, it’s easy to work with and has a great texture along with its boost of protein.
Oh, and if you have a cast iron pan, this is the perfect use for it. Notoriously sticking eggs won’t stick to a properly seasoned cast iron pan. Plus, there’s just something so wonderfully primal about cooking over a crackly flame in a cast iron pan.
Grilled Vegetarian Frittata
I’m listing the ingredients I used for this frittata, but the beauty of a frittata is that just about any vegetable will do. Substitute at will!
1 leek, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
1 garlic scape, stem only, chopped (or 1 clove of garlic, minced)
4 strips bacon substitute (I used Fakin’ Bacon from Lightlife) (optional)
6 large eggs
handful freshly grated cheese of your choosing
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1/2 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the grill to medium-high and prepare for direct grilling. (For extra smoky flavors, toss a handful of wood chips on the coals.)
2. Toss the leeks, pepper, onion, avocado and scapes together in a small bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until smooth, then add the cheese and a pinch of salt, whisking to blend.
3. Place a well-oiled, flame-proof, 10-12″ pan directly on the grill grate and allow to heat until the oil shimmers (cast iron works really well here).
4. Add the vegetables to the pan, along with the bacon substitute, if using. Saute until the vegetables are soft and the onions translucent. Use a long-handled spatula to spread the vegetables evenly around the pan.
5. Pour in the eggs. If necessary, gently swirl the pan around (don’t forget a well-insulated mitt) to distribute the eggs evenly. Sprinkle the seeds and some salt and pepper over the eggs. Don’t stir the contents at this point – just let it be. To facilitate cooking the tops of the eggs, close the cover and open the vents.
6. Check the eggs frequently for doneness. When the edges turn a golden brown, remove the pan from the grill. If the tops are not quite done, stick the pan under the broiler for a few minutes until lightly golden and fluffy. (Better to broil than to risk burning the bottoms of the frittata.) Slice and serve.