February 26, 2011 § 2 Comments
It’s not unusual for us to have meatless dinners in this house. I’m a carbaholic with an aversion to many meats so there are many meatless nights to be had here. I’ve actually been thinking more and more about adding additional meats to my diet. I have a strange relationship with meat – yes I admitted it – I like chicken, crispy cripsy bacon (note the double crispy) and spicy tacos. So, you’d think I would go for pork tenderloin or even a hamburger but nope, don’t like those. The reason I’ve been thinking of adding more meats to my diet is because of my husband. He loves meat and with the cooking shows constantly on in the background, I catch him drooling at the TV when he sees a good roast or steak. But I have to tell you, after the dinner we had this week which was completely meatless, there was nothing left to be desired.
I had briefly heard of this new movement, Meatless Mondays, an effort to get Americans to cut out meat at dinner once a weak to help us create healthier diets but was surprised when I saw a sign for it at a restaurant last Sunday afternoon – actually a burrito joint no less. Orlando isn’t a city that jumps on the bandwagon of many culinary trends so I was a bit surprised to see this had gained some attention locally. While I was intrigued, I wasn’t planning on going meatless the following Monday night. But Monday came, and that’s just what we did (in fact we went all out meatless by accident Sunday and Tuesday too so kudos to us).
Monday came, and I had a strong craving for an asparagus and egg dish I’d made a few months ago. You make delicate thin omelets almost like a crepe and wrap around cooked asparagus – its a light, delicious, and coupled with a glass of wine can feel very Parisian. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people that ever knows what’s in season – I can only tell once I get the store and see the prices. So wouldn’t you know I got my taste buds all jazzed up for this dish only to get to the store and see my lovely asparagus for $4.99 a package. I just couldn’t do it with the beautiful earthy green zucchini next to it for just $2.99. As I write this I’m laughing that $2.00 dictated my meal, but it did.
I also picked up some grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, crusty bread from the bakery, and Buittoni pesto. Once home, I unloaded my goodies excited to make my quick, healthy dinner. My husband greeted me and asked the usual “What’s for dinner” to which I replied, “eggs”. Now in his defense, I could have been a bit more descriptive but there was disappointment all over his face. You could see his high hopes for dinner just plummeting. I didn’t let this phase me though; I knew he’d be happy in the end. So, I got to cooking a zucchini frittata with a side tomato and mozzarella salad and some toasted bread with garlic.
I sliced the zucchini in half moons and sautéed in some olive oil and one minced garlic clove. To that I added a mixture of five beaten eggs with some milk, salt, pepper, and chopped scallions. I cooked the fritatta on the stove over medium heat until the egg was mostly set, moving it around in the pan with a spatula. Then I topped it with salty parmesan reggiano cheese and popped it under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese turned golden. To serve i stopped with some more freshly chopped scallions. I’ve made fritattas a few times. I always thought a fritatta just meant it was finished in the oven but after a little research, turns out a fritatta is the fluffy egg which results from whipping the eggs as opposed to stirring them as you would for an omelet. By whipping the eggs, you get air into the fritatta resulting in a beautiful fluffy, puffy, egg dish. While my fritatta puffed in the oven and I saw delicious peaks and valleys of cheesy goodness through the window, once removed it went poof! and fell. It was still delicious though, light, fluffy, and full of flavor.
On the side I made a yummy tomato mozzarella salad with the Buitoni pesto I had bought. I’ve used this pesto before and really love its intense flavor. While I’d love to make my own pesto, with one this good and ready to go, I can’t see why I’d bother. So, I took some help from Buitoni and mixed in some with my fresh grape tomatoes and mozzarella. The result was a perfect side salad to celebrate the coming of spring – crisp, juicy tomatoes with creamy mozzarella and herby pesto. For the bread, if you’ve never done this trick you need to try it – drizzle bread with a bit of olive oil and pop under the broiler until browned. Watch it closely as it can burn in a second. Remove the bread when its the color you want and rub with a garlic clove for a delicious, strong garlic flavor. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
So what did my husband have to say about his dinner of “sad” eggs or so he had assumed? “Baby, you hit it out of the park!” He actually asked if I’d taken pictures for my blog which of course I hadn’t as this was just a quick fix meal – but after his praises I decided I might as well snap a few before digging in. The best part of the evening – aside from his glowing praises – was that this was such an easy meal to prepare and so satisfying and healthy, even without meat in the starring role. All in all I think it took just under half an hour to make – not too shabby if I do say so myself. I think the next time he hears eggs for dinner he’ll be quite pleased.