Zucchini and tomato frittata

Zucchini and tomato frittata

This is an attractive frittata. But the tomatoes weren’t put on the top for appearance. It was done for flavor. Let me explain.

I started out wanting to make a frittata with zucchini. Zucchini is a mild vegetable, so I needed something to complement it. Tomatoes seemed the obvious choice–think ratatouille. But I though if I cut up the tomatoes and mixed them in the frittata, they would overwhelm the zucchini. Also, given the nature of a frittata, only so much can be mixed in, so including the tomatoes would reduce the amount of zucchini, further limiting the zucchini flavor. That’s when I had the idea of slicing the tomatoes thinly and using them to cover the top. The zucchini could be the star in the body of the frittata, to be complemented by the tomatoes on the top.

If you’ve looked at any of my other frittata recipies, you have seen that I like to finish the cooking of the frittata under the broiler. I made an exception for this one, baking it in the oven instead, because I didn’t want to brown the tomatoes.

Zucchini and tomato frittata

1 cup zucchini cut into matchsticks, about 3/16-inch (1 good-sized zucchini)
1 tablespoon shallot, chopped
olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or finely shredded
2–3 Roma tomatoes, sliced very thin, enough to cover the frittata
salt
fresh ground pepper

3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook the shallot in olive oil about 2 minutes over low heat until it starts to get soft. Add the zucchini and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the zucchini just starts to soften. Don’t overcook, and remember that it will cook some more in the frittata.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. If needed, add a bit more oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add a small amount of egg mixture to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the zucchini and shallots and the Parmesan into the eggs and pour the mixture into the pan. Place the tomato slices on top, covering the frittata. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper on the tomatoes. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Put the frittata in the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the egg next to the tomatoes just starts to brown.

Remove from the oven, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

This is another one of my favorite pasta salads. It has the same ingredients as the artichoke and sun-dried tomato salad posted earlier, just substituting the farfalla for the lettuce. Actually, the idea for this combination came first for this pasta salad. I later adapted it to make the other salad.

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

slightly less than 1 cup farfalla
1 cup cooked chicken breast, bite-sized pieces
1/2 large can artichoke hearts, cut into quarters or sixths
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon herbs de provence
3 tablespooons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cook the farfalla as instructed on the package, drain, and rinse to cool (or cook earlier and cool in refrigerator).

Combined the ingredients and toss to mix.

Mexican salad

Mexican salad

This is my take on a very common type of salad. Salads like this are often called taco salads, but I reserve that name for salads in a tortilla bowl, or at least with some form of tortilla along with the salad.

Use the seasoning of your choice with the ground beef. I use Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, which is salt-free. But whatever you choose, use plenty of seasoning, as the very well-seasoned ground beef gives the character to the salad.

Mexican salad

1/4–1/3 pound ground beef
taco or other southwestern-style seasoning
oil

romaine lettuce
avocado
tomato
red and green bell pepper
black olives, sliced
red onion, sliced thin

ranch dressing
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salsa or pico de gallo
sour cream

Cook the ground beef with a generous amount of the seasoning.
 
Start the salad with a generous amount of romaine lettuce. Add the avocado, tomato, red and green pepper, olives, and onion. Place the ground beef in the middle. Add modest amount of ranch dressing. Top with the shredded cheese. Add dollops of salsa and sour cream.

Greek frittata

Greek frittata

The feta cheese and Kalamata olives make this a Greek frittata.

This is a recipe where you can vary the flavor profile by varying the amounts of the ingredients. Add more feta cheese to make that more dominant. Or reduce the number of Kalamata olives to lower their presence in the frittata. (I would recommend these directions for making modifications.)

Greek frittata

1 cup coarsely chopped spinach
1/4 cup feta cheese plus more for the top
8 Kalamata olives, cut into quarters lengthwise

3 eggs
olive oil

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the spinach, cheese, and olives into the eggs. Pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, sprinkle on additional feta cheese and place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

Teriyaki chicken salad

Teriyaki chicken salad

I always like pineapple with teriyaki chicken, so that was my starting point for this salad. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for their fuller flavor, but you could certainly use a piece of chicken breast instead. For the dressing, a vinaigrette with teriyaki sauce was an obvious choice. I included honey, as I felt that the sweetness would work well with the rest of the salad.

Teriyaki chicken salad

1 or 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs, depending on size and appetite
teriyaki sauce

baby spinach
mushrooms, sliced
scallions, sliced, including plenty of the green part

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed, or 1/2 of a large clove
fresh ground pepper

Marinate chicken thighs in teriyaki sauce in a plastic bag for an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken thighs on a rack in a baking pan. Brush on bit more of the teriyaki sauce. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler and place the chicken under broiler for about 3 minutes to further brown to tops and finish cooking. Watch closely to not burn. Check that the thighs are cooked through by slicing in or reading a temperature of 160 to 165 on an instant-read thermometer. The thermometer is likely to be practical only for thicker thighs, inserted from the side into the middle. If not cooked through, you can just leave them in the oven for a few more minutes.

You want to let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing, so there is no need to start the final assembly of the salad before you take the chicken out.

Put mushrooms and scallions on the spinach, reserving some of the green parts. Whisk or shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, honey, teriyaki sauce, ginger, garlic, and fresh ground pepper. Pour over the salad. Slice the chicken thighs and place in the middle of the salad. Top the chicken with the remaining green parts of the scallions. Put chunks of pineapple on the salad.

Cauliflower and cheddar frittata

Cauliflower and cheddar frittata

It is quite common to see cauliflower served with a cheese sauce. So a cauliflower and cheese frittata was an obvious choice. This is, of course, very similar to the broccoli and cheddar frittata made earlier.

A few comments: Remember to make the cauliflower pieces sufficiently small to work in the frittata. The 2 minutes of cooking seems to be about right–you want the cauliflower cooked but still firm. Finally, I included more cheese in this than in my other frittatas with cheese. I wanted this one to be really cheesy.

Cauliflower and cheddar frittata

1 heaping cup small cauliflower florets, 3/4-inch or less
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus a little more for the top

3 eggs
oil

Drop cauliflower florets in boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add a small amount of egg mixture to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the cauliflower and cheddar into the eggs and pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, sprinkle on some additional cheese and place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

Barbecue chicken salad

Barbecue chicken salad

From barbecue chicken to barbecue chicken pizza to barbecue chicken frittata to barbecue chicken salad. My wife thought I was being terribly derivative and uncreative. I think there’s something to be said for adapting an idea from one type of food to another totally different type of food. You decide.

The ingredients are essentially the same as for the barbecue chicken frittata, substituting the lettuce for the eggs.

I struggled with the dressing for this salad. My first thought was to make a barbecue vinaigrette, adding perhaps a tablespoon of barbecue sauce to a vinaigrette, and carrying the barbecue sauce flavor throughout the salad. Then I thought that this would be too much, that a nice creamy vinaigrette would contrast nicely with the barbecue-sauced chicken. I even contemplated the idea of making the salad with half of each, to see which I liked better. I finally came up with the idea of making the creamy vinaigrette with a small amount of barbecue sauce. I liked the way this worked.

Barbecue chicken salad

1 cup cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
barbecue sauce, enough to coat the chicken breast pieces

romaine lettuce
red onion, thinly sliced
olives, sliced
1/3 to 1/2 cup smoked Gouda, cut into pieces (I did a fat julienne)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1–1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon barbecue sauce
fresh ground pepper

Mix the chicken with enough barbecue sauce to coat.

Put the onions and olives on the romaine. Whisk, or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, barbecue sauce, and pepper. Spoon the dressing over the salad.

Put the chicken in the middle and the smoked Gouda around the sides.