Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ricotta and Spinach Frittata

Oh April. You have arrived in all of your schizophrenic glory – beautiful sunny days followed by epic thunderstorms. April showers not only bring May flowers but also tornado sirens, downed power lines, and lengthy commutes while everyone figures out how do navigate four-way stops when the traffic lights are out.

Monday afternoon, as a dark, threatening cloud approached, everyone in the student recreation center was told to report to the women’s locker room, where we camped out for 30 minutes. I had little patience for the complaints of the undergraduates whose workouts had been interrupted since Twitter was reporting sightings of several funnel clouds. Fortunately, we were safe, and my house didn’t lose power. Joe said they had to move all of the patients on the OB floor out into the hallway, which must’ve been quite an experience.

Arriving home to find that I did indeed have power, a spring dinner in honor of the crazy spring weather seemed to be appropriate. Fresh greens, fluffy ricotta cheese, and citrusy mint affirm that spring is here to stay, though I could do without the tornado sirens. For the first time, I was successful at picking up the edges of the frittata to let the uncooked egg flow underneath. The key was a good amount of oil and letting the pan heat up. The fresh mint really flavors the dish, but any other flavorful fresh herb would fit as well.


Ricotta and Spinach Frittata
source: New York Times
Yields 4 dinner-sized servings

6 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and washed, or 1/2 6-ounce bag baby spinach
6 eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Steam the spinach above 1 inch of boiling water just until it wilts, about two minutes. Rinse with cold water, squeeze out excess moisture and chop fine.
2. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, salt, pepper, ricotta, garlic, spinach and mint.
3. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy 10-inch nonstick skillet. Drop a bit of egg into the pan; if it sizzles and cooks at once, the pan is ready. Pour in the egg mixture. Tilt the pan to distribute the eggs and filling evenly over the surface. Shake the pan gently, tilting it slightly with one hand while lifting up the edges of the frittata with the spatula in your other hand, to let the eggs run underneath during the first few minutes of cooking.
4. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook 10 minutes, shaking the pan gently every once in a while. From time to time, remove the lid, tilt the pan and loosen the bottom of the frittata with a wooden spatula so that the bottom doesn’t burn. It should turn a golden color. The eggs should be just about set; cook a few minutes longer if they’re not.
5. Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Uncover the pan and place under the broiler, not too close to the heat, for one to three minutes, watching very carefully to make sure the top doesn’t burn (at most, it should brown very slightly and puff under the broiler). Remove from the heat, shake the pan to make sure the frittata isn’t sticking, and allow it to cool for at least five minutes and for as long as 15 minutes. Loosen the edges with a wooden or plastic spatula. Carefully slide from the pan onto a large round platter. Cut into wedges or into smaller bite-size diamonds. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold.