If we’re friends on Facebook or elsewhere, then you know our family devotes a lot of yard space to growing food. We have perennial berry bushes, fruit and nut trees, herb beds, chickens for eggs, and several raised and in-ground beds for annual vegetables. Diet – what we eat – is the foundation of health, and all of us are always either building a solid or poor base for our health based on what we put in our bodies. Our kids, Maggie and Seth, have grown up eating all kinds of veggies, and for the most part enjoy everything we put in front of them. They’ll wander the yard and eat things right off the plant, and love getting their friends to eat things they’ve never tried (or seen) before. Right now it’s a fresh fig, ripe from the tree in our front yard.
But what if you didn’t grow up eating lots of veggies, and only have a few you like? What if your kids won’t eat them, and you don’t have the energy or patience to persuade them otherwise? My wife Rebecca is always coming up with ways to incorporate more vegetables into the meals we eat, and I thought I’d start an occasional series sharing some of the recipes she and I create – often because of what is growing in the yard at any given time – so we can eat more veggies. So, the inaugural dish is Sunday brunch frittata.
I don’t know when I first made this dish, but it has become a staple feature of our Sunday mornings. I crank up my Sunday morning playlist, and get to work. As with many dishes we make, the first step is gently caramelizing onions. I make the frittata in a cast iron skillet, as it ends up under the broiler. While you’re thinly slicing the onion(s), add your favourite fat – I usually use lard or bacon grease – to the skillet on a medium-low burner. Add the onions, and stir occasionally as they slowly turn into caramelized goodness.
While that’s all gently sauteing together, use a large-hole grater to grate a couple of large carrots and beets. Yes, beets. Purple veggies are good for you! Once the onions and peppers are beginning to turn golden brown, add the grated carrots and beets, and stir together. Turn the burner to medium. Check your fat/oil – add more if needed.
Next, gently whisk your eggs. We use a dozen of our hens’ eggs, which may sound like a lot, but we typically only eat half the frittata and save the rest for a morning when we need a quick and easy breakfast. Add whatever seasonings you enjoy, and any fresh herbs you may have. We have perennial oregano and thyme in our garden, and plenty of basil, so those get chopped and added to the eggs.
Next, rough chop some greens – kale, swiss chard, collards, or whatever else you may have growing or to hand. Once the carrots and beets have softened and their sweetness is starting to come forth, throw in the greens and stir all together. While they’re cooking, dice some tomatoes, and grate some of your favourite cheese.
Time for another fat/oil check, as we don’t want any of that goodness sticking to the pan. Pull half the skillet’s contents to one side, and pour in enough of the egg mix to cover the empty side. Then pull the contents over to the side with the egg, and pour egg into the now vacant half to cover. Then gently spread out the mixture, and pour the rest of the egg over the veggies.
Sprinkle the diced tomatoes and cheese over the top. When the edges of the frittata turn brown and start to pull away slightly from the skillet, turn your broiler on to high, with a shelf in the highest position. Place the skillet under the broiler, and cook the frittata until the egg is completely set.
Remove skillet with a hotpad, and serve with a side salad, or steamed beans, or whatever sounds good to you. The last time I made this we served it with steamed garden beans and plantain waffles. My kids love this dish, and it is chock-full of good veggies that have kept most of their nutrients. It takes about an hour to make.
1 large yellow onion
1-2 bell peppers
2 large carrots
1 packed cup of rough cut kale/chard leaves
Fresh herbs & seasoning to taste
1 large tomato, diced, or a cup of halved cherry tomatoes