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Monday, April 30, 2007

Purple Peruvian Potato and a quick Frittata recipe

(If you are reading this post on a RSS reader, you might want to click through to Chez Pim for the slideshow.)

Have you tried these beautiful Purple Peruvian potatoes? They really are strikingly purple both inside and out, and the color remains even after cooking. As the name implies, these potatoes were cultivated first in Peru, by the Inca who –apparently- considered them food for the gods.

I found Cynthia and Scott harvesting these weird looking potatoes up at the garden on Friday. From afar they looked, well, quite like, um, black turds. But a closer inspection revealed a beautiful opalescent shine on the dark skin. A spud in metalic purple skin, how cool is that?

A few people were up at the garden that morning, and as the sun shone brighter we were getting hungry. It fell to me to whip up something quick to feed us, so I decided to use these gorgeous potatoes to bulk up some eggs for a quick Frittata fit for a crowd.

The usual Frittata recipe calls for cooking the eggs first on the stovetop for 15-20 minutes on very low flame, then another 5-10 minutes pass under the broiler at the end. But, as I said, we were getting quite hungry. So I devised a shortcut to cook the Frittata quicker.

First, instead of simply pouring the eggs on to a pan and let it cook on a low flame for over 15 minutes, I heat up my pan to high, then cook up the eggs, whipping quickly as if I am making scrambled eggs. When the eggs begin to set a bit, I turn the flame to low and add all my vegetables (pre-cooked) and herbs and push them into the setting egg. When the eggs are almost set, leaving a layer of wetness just on the top, I move the pan off the fire and directly to the broiler. Broil for just a few minutes until the top blisters up in places and the egg is set. Voila, you are done!

By cooking the eggs like scarmbled eggs in the beginning, I cut down the cooking time from 15 minutes on the stovetop alone to just a few minutes. And, with only a couple more minutes under the hot broiler, your Frittata will be done before your guests finish arguing over how many Ts there are in the word Frittata. The quickie Frittata will turn out quite beautifully too. I love shortcuts when they work, don't you?

For this Frittata, I scoured around the garden to find other ingredients that would go well with the potatoes and eggs. I found some fresh green garlic, young zucchini and some nice herbs, all of which helped make this Frittata as delicious to look at as it was to eat.

Quick Frittata with Purple Peruvian and Zucchini

12 eggs
2-3 cups Purple Peruvian potatoes, cut crosswise into 1cm-thick rounds
1 cup zucchini, cut crosswise into 1 cm-thick rounds
3 stalks of green garlic, thinly sliced (use only about the bottom 5 inches of the stalk)
a big handful of Fines Herbes (equal amount of parsley, chive, tarragon, and chervil)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 1½ tbsp butter (1 ½ for cooking the potatoes, ½ for the zucchini, ½ for the garlic, and 2 more for the eggs)

First you cook the potatoes by sauteing them in a pan with a bit more than one tablespoon of butter and a little salt. Cook over medium-low flame, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are cooked through and soft. They are not going to be cooked much more in the Frittata itself, so be sure to cook them here until done. Set the potato aside and follow the same instructons again, this time with the zucchini. Cook until done and set aside. Now the green garlic, saute the thinly sliced garlic over low heat with ½ tablespoon of butter, and don't forget a little salt, until translucent and slightly caramelized, set aside.

Chop equal amount of parsley, chive, tarragon, and chervil. You will need about 2 tbsp altogether. Set aside.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste –cook a bit of the egg mixture and taste it to make sure it is well-seasoned. You can also add a bit of milk if you'd like. Whip until the bright yellow eggs turn pale and foamy.

Preheat the broiler to High. On the stovetop, heat up a large pan, at least 10 inch in diameter, until hot. Add 2 tbsp of butter, be sure to coat the entire pan. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir rigorously, like making scrambled eggs. When the eggs begin to set and turn paler in color, turn to heat immediately down to very low. Scatter the potatoes, zucchini, green garlic, and the fine herbs all over the eggs and let cook until almost set.

Take the pan off the stovetop and into the broiler. Let the egg mixture cook under the broiler for just a few minutes, watching carefully, until blisters form in places and turn brown. Take the pan out of the oven immediately and serve. You can serve the Frittata on its own or pair with a simple green salad.


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