With all those leftovers floating around, it’s only right to write a few notes about making a frittata.
- you won’t be able to fry everything at once, so have a holding bowl at one side
- it’s difficult to tell how many eggs you’ll need, so always have a few spare
- beat the eggs only enough to combine, the final product will be fluffier as a result
- if you’re using potatoes, they’ll need to be cooked first (waxy ones like Charlottes are the best as they’ll hold their shape when sliced up)
- if you’re using mushrooms, fry them until they’ve exuded loads of liquid, then pop them into your holding bowl, and reduce the liquid as far as you dare
- cheese is mandatory, Comté doubly so
- once under the grill, it will puff up alarmingly, so don’t have the oven shelf too high, or tragedy will ensue
Good things to include:
- onions or leeks
- potatoes (cooked, cooled and thinly sliced)
- pancetta or bacon
- stuffing (this is awesome if crumbled into the mix)
- cold roast meat, shredded
- a splodge of cream never hurt
The last grisly remains of the pizza dough were favouring me with an accusatory glare from the bottom shelf of the fridge this morning.
The dough yielded one useful lump, which was duly rolled out and adorned with ham, except for the centre, which I left bare. After five minutes in the oven, I broke an egg into the recess in the middle and covered the lot with a handful of grana. A few more minutes and behold, the breakfast of champions.
The egg, of course, didn’t confine itself to the well in the middle, and some of it escaped over the baking sheet, and has become carbonised laminate. Oh well, fun with the washing up.
The remaining odds and sods of dough were rolled into a single flattish piece (about two centimetres thick) brushed with olive oil, more salt, and popped in for a 20 minutes. A very rough, but quite palatable, ciabatta/focaccia/thing resulted.
Coldish. Wettish. Some leftover (oven roasted) sausages in the fridge that need to eaten, and I don’t feel barbaric enough to simply wolf them down cold with mustard. Well, maybe one.
The rest get chopped up finely and fried, whilst a pot of pasta goes on the hob next door. Once the sausage bits are hot, I plonk in a spoon of crème fraîche (because it’s there) and a spoon of wholegrain mustard. Doesn’t quite taste right, so I pop in a spoon of chopped parsley from the freezer. By this point the pasta is done, so I drain it and throw it in with the sausages, and then server with pepper and parmesan.
I think there’s a better process described by Mr Slater, involving uncooked suasages, that you skin and crumble, and a great deal more cream. But I’ll save that for another occassion.
It may also have been interesting had I used more cream, covered the results in cheese and placed in the oven or under a hot grill. Hmmm.
There is leftover garlic mash from the other night. It was pushed into a square sandwich bag, and squished into a flat slab, about an inch thick. The slab is conveniently the same size as my smallest square baking dish. Muwhahaha.
Some minced lamb and a chopped onion get fried in olive oil with salt, pepper and a half a teaspoon of sugar. I realise that there’s no red wine handy, at least of the sort I’d use to deglaze the pan, so I pop in a splash of vermouth and, for the hell of it, some squished up juniper berries. A sprinkle of dried thyme, a tin of chopped tomatoes (minus their juice) and the results go into the bottom of my baking dish. A layer of frozen peas and then the slab of mash. The mash turns out not to be exactly the right size, so there’s some artistic carving with a serrated bread knife to make it fit.
Finally, into a hot oven for half an hour. Joy.
- Worcestershire sauce
- tomato paste (not keen on this as it makes the whole thing tomato flavoured, whilst the pieces provide just the occasional nugget of fruitiness)
- chopped up dried tomatoes
It all started with half a punnet of uneaten and slightly squishy cherry tomatoes. Had I just chucked them out, none of this would have happened and my kitchen would not be in its current state of devastation. To cut a long story short, the tomatoes became a small quantity of very intense tomato sauce, and I thought, “yes! fishcakes!” – oops.
For the fish I just used some frozen blocks of “cod portions” – basically all the ugly bits that can’t be sold as fillets are squished together, frozen, and then sawn up. Given that most of the “fresh” cod you see at the fish counter in a supermarket has already been frozen and thawed, there’s no need to get precious about this sort of thing.
The frozen blocks of fish got poached in a saucepan of milk with a bay leaf, whilst an equivalent amount of spuds (peeled and chopped into chunks) were being simmered next door. (Washing up count = 2.)
When the fish was done, it was turned out onto a rimmed chopping board, flaked, and picked through for any bones and bits of skin, and after, combined with the mashed potato in a bowl. (Washing up count = 4.)
After a bit of squishing with a spoon and then by hand to get to the right texture, the resulting mass was rolled into ball about two inches across and half an inch thick, floured and popped on a plate to await their fate. (Washing up count = 6.)
Finally the fishcakes were fried…
…until crisp on the outside, before being gratefully gobbled up with the aforementioned tomato sauce. (Washing up count = 7.)
The remains of last night’s minestrone have sat in the pot overnight, and congealed; the beans and pasta soaking up any remaining liquid, and the whole lot looking very solid, and to be eaten with a knife and fork, rather than a spoon.
At this point I could spread it out in a baking dish, pop it a hot oven until it was crisp on top, and maybe add some more cheese.
However, the soggy pasta puts me in mind of childhood, so I just heat it up and put it on toast for lunch.
It’s almost cold, and actually wet today. Where once there was a veritable herd, there’s now only a single dispirited chugger by the station.
About 500mL of last night’s tomato goop has been popped into a saucepan with some dried basil and oregano, and half a tin of borlotti beans. It would have been nice to have used up the whole tin, neatly, but life’s not as neat and as convenient as that, so the remainder go into a tupper and into the fridge. Hopefully I can think of something useful to do with them, rather than discover them six months later.
It’d also be nice if you could just chuck the handful macaroni straight in, but it really needs to be cooked in a separate pan, before being added. By now the mixture’s heated up, so I turn the heat down to a low simmer. It’s looking a bit thick, so I add some boiling water to get it to the right consistency, and then switch the heat off before grating in some parmesan.
A kind of minestrone, I guess. (Or is it ribollita? Not sure. I think the real thing would need beans, cabbage and a ham bone.)
The remaining kilogram of tomato goop will have to go in the freezer.