Young and Hungry

Home Cooking Day on Y&H: The Frustration of Making Spinach Frittatas

frittata

Frittatas were on the menu Sunday afternoon at Y&H's house.  It sounded like a good idea, both simple and satisfying. I started with a recipe I pulled from Mario Batali's  Molto Italiano, which, thank God, somebody else has already added to the internets.

I figured I could easily find all the ingredients at the local farmers market, even this late in the year. I was correct on that count. I even picked up some porcinis and applewood-smoked bacon to add a little texture and flavor (and bacon!) to the recipe.

What I neglected to remember, however, are two important factors:

Blanched spinach requires that you dry those wrinkled little mofos so that they don't add too much moisture to the frittata and prevent it from setting correctly. Y&H consumed a lot of time and paper towels drying those suckers. There must be an easier way, yes? (Insert plea for help from readers.)

The other issue is our old Calphalon 9-inch saute pan, which lost its stick resistence six years ago in a terrible kitchen accident. (I lie, of course, just to cover for the fact that I forgot to treat the pan before adding the egg mixture, which I always forget to do.) It makes one step in Mario's recipe all but impossible:

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook until the bottom has set, about 5 minutes. Hold a flat plate over the pan and invert the frittata onto the plate, then slide it back into the pan. Cook until just set, about 5 minutes more, and serve hot.

Yeah, right. I had a better chance of prying that drink out of Lindsay Lohan's hand. I finally fell back on a technique I learned awhile ago: Stick the whole saute pan in a very hot oven for a few minutes until the top sets.

Worked like a charm, if I say so myself. The lunch, in the end, wasn't so simple. But it was quite satisfying — almost as satisfying as eating it in front of the telly as the Redskins pulled off that Sunday miracle.

  • Nikki

    Dry spinach faster with a salad spinner!

  • Tim Carman

    Nikki,

    A salad spinner works great on rinsed spinach, but not so well with blanched spinach. The little buggers just cling to the side of the spinner like barnacles.

    See this short item from Saveur: http://www.saveur.com/article/Techniques/Cooking-Spinach

    -Tim

  • B

    Forget the blanching. Wash, rinse, then saute the spinach with olive oil and salt. Remove liquid. Chop the cooked spinach to remove excess liquid (chopping it breaks the cellular structure and releases more trapped water). Gently press the spinach through a strainer to remove the excess liquid.

    I can sympathize. I've experience the same problem when forgetting to adequately strain. Too much liquid and it never sets properly. Glad it worked out ok in the end.

  • Tim Carman

    Good suggestion, B. I'll give it a try next time.

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