When I want to whip up a quick summer meal that can be made in advance and served at room temperature, I turn to my cast iron pan and farm-fresh eggs.
Serving lunch or dinner on the porch or a city terrace? Serve a frittata directly from the skillet. Heading to the park or beach? Frittatas are sturdy enough to slice and pack in containers and pair easily with chopped veggie salads, sliced melon, seasonal berries, chilled summer soups or crusty bread.
Seek out farm-fresh eggs and seasonal greens at the farmer’s market for the most vibrant color and freshest flavors. For this frittata, I turned to colorful rainbow chard and harissa, the Middle Eastern spice blend, as my inspiration.
Harissa varies from place to place but commonly includes sun-dried chiles (often smoked), toasted cumin, coriander, garlic and mint. Don’t be surprised if you spot flecks of rose petals or bits of dried tomatoes, too. Harissa may be sold in jars as a paste or as a powdered spice.
When making a frittata, consider amping up the seasoning, as eggs beg for bold flavors. Want to keep it mild? Turn to gentler herbs you’ll find in the summer markets or those you’re growing in your own garden. For a Middle Eastern-inspired frittata, consider chickpeas, freshly squeezed lemon and tomato paste as ingredients that will seem familiar but perhaps not in combination with eggs. Be sure to make enough for leftovers.
In this recipe, these tangy Middle Eastern flavors are complemented by the rainbow chard. (Rainbow chard includes Swiss chard, red chard and golden chard.) Swiss chard has an earthy sweetness with a mineral edge to it. For that reason, slightly sweet and tangy ingredients like lemon, tomato paste and goat cheese pair well with it, as they will temper that flinty subtlety.
- 8 eggs
- ¼ cup whole or 2% milk
- 5 cups chopped raw rainbow chard (or spinach)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 1 ½ tsp harissa (powdered spice)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese (may use feta), reserve 1-2 Tbsp for top
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Rinse greens in cold water, pat dry, remove center rib by cutting around it, and roughly chop. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in cast iron pan over medium heat. Before the oil heats up, use a paper towel to coat sides of pan as well as bottom.
- Saute onions until golden. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add chickpeas and harissa to pan, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chard and toss with other ingredients until barely wilted.
- Mix tomato paste, ketchup and lemon juice in a small bowl until blended. Add to pan and mix.
- Spread contents of pan evenly with back of spoon or spatula.
- Add crumbled cheese, distributing evenly across the surface of greens mixture.
- Pour egg mixture over the greens and spread evenly. Allow to cook over medium heat on the stovetop for about 5 minutes. The edges should begin to look like they are firming up just a bit.
- Sprinkle with reserved crumbled cheese.
- Place pan in oven and bake for about 8 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a knife in the center of frittata. If it comes out clean, you’re all set. If there’s runny egg on the knife, continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes.