Tag Archives: mozzarella

Crab Caprese salad

Crab Caprese salad

Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil are a classic Italian combination, as in Margherita pizza (and my Margherita frittata) and in Caprese salad. This is my take on that salad.

I wanted to add some meat or seafood and went with crab. My market sells, in the seafood case, cooked crab leg clusters that have crab legs about 8 to 10 inches long. I decided to go with those rather than getting fresh or canned crab meat in order to get actual pieces of crab leg to put on the salad. I only added about 2 ounces of crab (maybe even a little less) as the mozzarella provided plenty of additional substance for the salad. You could use crab meat instead.

For tomatoes, Trader Joe’s has those nice mini heirloom tomatoes which I used here, cut in half. Larger tomatoes, sliced, as typically used for Caprese salad would be an equally good option.

The standard Caprese salad does not include lettuce. I like lettuce. Also, larger tomatoe slices can be nicely arranged on the plate, while putting the small tomatoes down on the plain plate would look a little bare.

Then came the question of how to dress the salad. When I first had the idea of doing this salad with crab, I immediately thought about a lemon vinaigrette, as lemon juice always complements seafood nicely. But in looking at recipes online for Caprese salad, a common instruction was to only use olive oil, as vinegar would not go with the mozzarella (though there were several Caprese salad recipes featuring a balsamic reduction). I came up with a two-step compromise. I composed the salad with everything but the mozzarella. I made a vinaigrette using half the lemon juice I would normally use (1 teaspoon of lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of oil rather than 2 teaspoons, the standard 3-to–1 ratio). I put this on the salad and it gave a very subtle lemon flavor without being acidic. I then added the mozzarella and some whole basil leaves and spooned a little more olive oil over those. I think this worked well and accomplished what I had set out to do.

Crab Caprese salad

baby lettuce
tomatoes
mozzarella cheese
crab
basil, torn into pieces with some whole leaves for the top

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Arrange lettuce, tomatoes, crab, and the torn basil pieces on the plate. Whisk or shake in a small jar 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Pour over the salad. Put the mozzarella and whole basil leaves on the salad. Spoon the remaining olive oil on the mozzarella and the basil leaves.

Pepperoni and artichoke frittata

Pepperoni and artichoke frittata

I love artichokes. And I find they really pair well with other foods with robust flavors such as sun-dried tomatoes in this frittata and salad or in the antipasto salad. In this frittata, the artichokes are coupled with pepperoni. Add some Italian cheeses and it makes a very tasty frittata.

A couple of notes on preparation: Pepperoni slices have a tendency to stick together and form clumps. I find it best to add these to the eggs first, a few at a time, to get them mixed in with minimum clumping. Also, I add the artichokes last to minimize stirring the eggs with them and breaking them up. I use around a half of a standard-size can of artichoke hearts. They can vary in size. Smaller ones I cut into quarters, larger ones into fifths. The way I cut into (approximate) fifths is to first cut the artichoke in half off-center. Then cut the smaller piece in half and the larger one into thirds.

Pepperoni and artichoke frittata

1/2 cup pepperoni slices cut in half
4–5 artichoke hearts cut into quarters or fifths (1/2 standard size can)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella plus more for the top
1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus more for the top

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 pepperoni, cheese, and artichokes 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 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.

Margherita frittata

Margherita frittata

Another pizza-inspired frittata. Margherita pizza is a classic, just mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil. This certainly will work for a frittata as well.

Looking at recipes for Margherita pizza online, I found ones that used tomato sauce, whole canned tomatoes, and fresh tomatoes (and even a combination). For a frittata, mixing tomato sauce in with the eggs doesn’t seem to be a good idea so I use fresh tomatoes. (I suppose you could just put tomato sauce on the top…hmm…maybe that’s an idea for something in the future.) I like to use the small Roma tomatoes. They are easy to slice and cut up into pieces that are a good size for the frittata.

The standard Margherita pizza uses just mozzarella as the cheese. I like to include some freshly grated Parmesan to give the frittata more flavor. I don’t measure, I just grate some into the measuring cup, maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons of Parmeasan, and then fill the rest with the shredded mozzarella. If you’re buying a bag of already shredded cheese, another option is an Italian cheese mix with multiple cheeses that is often available.

Margherita frittata

3/4 cup Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4-in slices and quartered (about 2 small Roma tomatoes)
5–6 basil leaves, cut into thin strips, more or less, depending on size
1/2 cup grated mozzarella and Parmesan plus a little more for the top

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 egg to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the tomatoes, cheese, and most of the basil into the eggs and pour the egg 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 a bit more of the cheeses on the top. Place the 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, especially because you don’t want the pieces of tomato on the top browning.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate. Put the remaining basil on top before serving.

Barbecue chicken frittata

Barbecue chicken frittata

One way to create new recipes is to take food from one setting and adapt it to another, different setting. I think barbecue chicken provides a great example. Nearly everyone is familiar with barbecue chicken. But then someone got creative and wondered how it would work on pizza. The barbecue chicken pizza was born and has become the signature menu item for the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant.

So let’s keep going. Why not take the barbecue chicken pizza and make it into a frittata? There are loads of recipes online for barbecue chicken pizza, many either claiming to be versions of the California Pizza Kitchen one or more subtly suggesting that, such as talking about California-style pizza. Most of these have pretty much the same ingredients. So I used those (minus the pizza dough, of course!) to make my barbecue chicken frittata. (Well, with one exception. The recipes call for sprinkling cilantro over the pizza before serving. I’m not a big cilantro fan, so I don’t add it to my frittata. Put some on yours if you’d like.)

Just a couple of notes before getting to the recipe, both involving the barbecue sauce. Many have a favorite barbecue sauce. If you do, use that. I like KC Masterpiece Original barbecue sauce. It’s nice and dark and the flavor comes through well in the frittata.

The second note involves the assembly of the frittata. When I first made this, I just mixed the barbecue-sauced chicken in with the eggs. The frittata tasted like it should, like the pizza. But the pieces of chicken themselves were no longer sauced, the barbecue sauce having been separated from the chicken and mixed throughout the frittata. That’s when I came up with the idea of putting half the eggs in the pan, then placing the barbecue chicken pieces on top of the eggs, and finally spooning the remaining egg mixture over, trying to minimize the displacement of the barbecue sauce. I reserve a few of the barbecued chicken pieces to put on top. I think this makes the frittata look nicer.

Barbecue chicken frittata

3/4 cup cooked chicken breast, 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
2-1/2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella plus a little more for the top
1/4 cup shredded smoked gouda plus a little more for the top
1–1/2 tablespoons chopped red onion

3 eggs
oil

Mix the chicken with the barbecue sauce.

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 to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the cheese and onions into the eggs and pour about half of the egg mixture into the pan. Spoon about 3/4 of the chicken onto the eggs, small amounts at a time, spreading the chicken over the frittata. Spoom the remainder of the egg mixture gently over the chicken to avoid disturbing the barbecue sauce. Put the rest of the chicken on the top. 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 a bit more of the cheeses on the top. Place the 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.