Saturday, February 26, 2005
I believe the world can be neatly divided in half. Those who like to eat leftovers for breakfast and those who don't. My sister and I clearly fall into the first category. When we were growing up we went on various family trips by car. Stopping at coffee shops and diners we quickly grew bored of the standard breakfast fare. Could we have chili? Hamburgers? Soup? Bewildered waitresses would check in the kitchen to see if the cooks could oblige.
If the idea of soup for breakfast seems bizarre, here's something to consider, in Asia it's quite common. In Japan it might be miso soup, but in parts of South East Asia it's more likely to be rice or noodle soup with some kind of meat. For me, it's not that any one kind of soup is specifically best for breakfast, it's more the opportunity to revisit what I had for dinner. Somehow casseroles, soups and pasta are particularly suited to breakfast.
While cold pizza is not an unknown treat for some, pasta tops my list for breakfast leftovers. The thing is, pasta takes on a different taste when reheated. Lasagna or macaroni and cheese just get better when thrown in the oven a second time. Other kinds of pasta, like a simple pasta with tomato sauce, taste great when reheated in a saute pan with a little butter or olive oil. Or you can make a frittata.
For those who feel it's just not breakfast without eggs, frittata is a great compromise. And for those who'd just as soon have leftovers it represents the perfect way to sneak last nights pasta or veggies into breakfast. Frankly there's not much you can't add to a frittata. Basically a frittata is an Italian omelette that includes all sorts of goodies mixed into it, and is not folded, but cooked slowly in a pan and baked or broiled or simply flipped to cook the top.
Frittata is really more of a method than a recipe.
(proportions are per person, can be made for 1-4 people depending on pan size)
2 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup or so of savory filling, can be leftover pasta, leftover meat, vegetables, cheeses or some combination
1-2 Tablespoon fresh chopped herb such as parsley or basil
Heat an omelette pan and add olive oil or butter. Add the filling ingredients in a pan to warm through, and then add the beaten eggs. Cook over low heat slowly so the eggs don't get tough. When the frittata is halfway cooked you can slide it onto a plate and then flip it over into the pan to cook the top side or slip it into a 350 degree oven to cook through. How long this will take depends on how large the frittata is. You can top a frittata with sour cream, tomato sauce, grated parmesan cheese, whatever you like really. It can also be served, hot, at room temperature or cold.