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Spring Frittata: How I Suffer for the Cause

Eating seasonally starts to get exciting right about now; though, if you're not used to it, perhaps a bit daunting.  If your diet has heretofore consisted (as it does for most Americans) of food brought to you on a truck from you-really-don't-know-where and purchased at your average grocery store, you get used to eating the same, say, 5 vegetables (maybe 10 if you're really broad-minded), out of season, with a meager amount of nutrients, all the time.  It's convenient.  It's sort of like food.  And it's beyond bland and boring.  (How's that for alliteration?)  But try eating food grown locally and in season, even for just a month, and the world explodes with possibilities.  It may seem like you're more limited at first (what do you mean there are no tomatoes in May?  What will I put in my salad?), but when you start to branch out of your lettuce/tomato/potato rut, you start to see what I mean.  

First of all, early spring is all about green.  Green, green, green everywhere you look.  The produce stands are filled to buckling with every green-leafy imaginable... and some I'd bet you never (if you're on the aforementioned typical American grocery store diet) tried before in your life.  And, oh, are they worth trying.  I've finally updated our What's in Season Now page.  Go look at the list.  Some of the available produce you'll recognize (fresh green onions, anyone?), but I'll bet there are several you haven't tried.  Not much fruit yet (aside from strawberries and, around here, mulberries!), and the only color you'll see is bright red radishes and the rainbow of colors available in Swiss chard.  Limiting, right?  Yes, and no.  

The trick to really experience seasonal eating is this:  find something in season that you Really Love, eat a crapload of it, and don't stop until it goes away.  Remember, also, to try something new.  You never know what strange seasonal morsel may become a new to-die-for favorite.  Asparagus lovers have been in absolute heaven lately, since this shining gem of Spring is at it's fleeting peak right now.  And, believe me, asparagus in season and picked just hours before  you buy it is absolutely incomparable to the out-of-season grocery store variety.  Love mushrooms?  Some cultivated kinds can be procured all year long (especially if you know a good mushroom grower), but others... go see @ Home with Real Food's recent adventures in morel hunting.   Tell me you aren't intrigued.

In my head, it goes something like this.  "I have eaten so much asparagus... asparagus for breakfast in my omelets, asparagus raw in salad, asparagus sauteed with garlic for dinner... I love asparagus SO much, but if I never see another asparagus again... oh, look!  Blackberries!"  And your off!  Of course, you won't be eating only one thing at a time.  This season I've taken full shameful advantage of all the fresh spring salad greens, asparagus, sauteed collard greens, spinach in everything, green onions (which make for KILLER nachos... I wouldn't lie to you), green garlic (such wonderful, fascinating stuff.  You must try it if you can find it at your nearest farmers' market, though this is a spring delicacy you probably won't see at your average chain grocery store) and the most gorgeous pastured eggs I have ever seen.  I even stumbled upon some goose eggs recently, and quickly snatched them up so Terri would make me some custard!  Still waiting... ;)

To show you a little bit of how I'm "suffering" with all these seasonal "limits" (heh heh), here's the kind of stuff we've been eating.  It's delicious, filling, and works with the budget.
Spring Frittata

Spring Frittata

A frittata, for the 5 people left on this planet who don't know (believe me, I was one of them until a few short years ago), are sort of a compromise between an omelette and a quiche.  You can use any fresh vegetables or cheeses you prefer.  Don't like (or can't have) mushroom?  Leave them out.  Want another way to prepare that succulent asparagus?  Throw some in!  Here's what I did:

 Ingredients
9 eggs
A little glug of milk (like you'd do to make scrambled eggs... just eyeball it)
Two big handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (Terri - you'll be glad to know these mushrooms met their untimely demise in my mouth... making the world safe for my foodie partner one fungus at a time)
1 small onion, chopped
1 large green garlic, chopped (bulb & stalk - use everything that looks useable)
4 slices bacon
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese
A few dashes of nutmeg

Whisk up your eggs and milk in a bowl (I use a large glass liquid measure, which makes it easy to pour later) and set aside.  In an oven-proof skillet (cast iron or stainless steel with no plastic handles), over medium-high heat, brown the bacon until done and remove, leaving behind the grease.  Wilt the spinach in the bacon grease, then remove that, too (set aside in a bowl for the moment).  You'll see that a lot of spinach wilts down into a little, so in this case more is better.
The spinach I was left with once it wilted
 In the grease that's left (if there's not enough, add a little olive oil), sautee the mushrooms, onion, and green garlic.  Once the mushrooms are soft and the onions are transparent, add the spinach back into the mix and crumble the bacon over all of it.
Sauteed veggies & bacon for frittata - I could eat it just like this
 Next, pour the egg mixture over everything and sprinkle the cheese evenly.  Now's the time to sprinkle your nutmeg over the top, as well.  Preheat the broiler.  Reduce heat under your skillet to medium-low and let cook, uncovered, for approximately 2 minutes until the eggs are set but it's still a little runny on top.  Here's another photo, this one of mine cooking away on the stove top.

Transfer the skillet to the broiler until eggs are no longer runny and slightly browned, another 2 or 3 minutes.  Slice into wedges and serve with one of those fabulous fresh green salads.

We ate every last bite.

Devouring the Seasons  – (May 11, 2011 at 9:29 AM)  

It looks amazing. And thank you SO MUCH for taking care of those mushrooms for me...I feel much safer.

As for the eggs, they met their demise in the custard sauce that I poured over my Strawberry Short-trifle (kind of a cross between a shortcake and a trifle). At any rate, it was delicious and the recipe and photos will be posted in a couple of days.

Ahhhh....Spring!
xxx-terri

Life with my Aspie  – (May 11, 2011 at 12:09 PM)  

Yummy. You just made my tummy growl. Looks so delicious.

MrsSpock  – (May 15, 2011 at 8:18 PM)  

This reminds me I need to focus on those green leafies a bit more. Hm...maybe need to challenge myself to eat one every day or two with the next menu?

Devouring the Seasons  – (May 16, 2011 at 8:43 AM)  

Terri - you are so welcome. You know I'm here for you. ;)

Life with my Aspie - THANKS! :)

Mrs. Spock - Yay! If I can inspire just a few more people to eat their greens, my job here is done. ;)

Laura  – (May 17, 2011 at 1:31 AM)  

Looks delicious and so seasonal! This post reminded me that I should be making more egg and vegetable dishes, and that I need to get a good cast iron skillet...

RonJoeWhite  – (May 18, 2011 at 9:55 PM)  

Now that looks good enough to eat! I'll pass the recipe over to my wife :-)

Devouring the Seasons  – (May 20, 2011 at 8:56 PM)  

Thanks Laura! It was super yummy... especially since my eggs came from pastured chickens raised by a farmer who I could easily pick out of a line-up (not saying that would ever be necessary). ;)

RonJoeWhite - appreciate the compliment, and the visit!

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