Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Squash Frittata

I feel as if I have just woken up from a long sleep, a midsummer hibernation.

About a month ago I got it in my head that I wanted to read all seven Harry Potter books before fall semester started. It was a pretty ambitious goal, especially since at the time I was still working all day and came home tired and unwilling to do much of anything. But I was determined to get through the thousands of pages and hundreds of chapters. Suffice it to say that I've done a lot of reading this summer (ten books in all), and now that I've finished the seventh and final book in the series, I'm sort of at a loss of what to do.

Particularly in the last week and a half, I've done nothing but read. All day and often late into the night, sometimes forgoing lunch or dinner for just one more chapter. It was incredible. After cooking and baking, reading is my favorite way to pass the time. I loved getting lost in the books, in the fantastic world J.K. Rowling created, in horcruxes and pensieves, Quidditch and charms. These books surpassed my expectations in every way imaginable. Rowling's writing and storytelling really inspire me. No detail goes unexplained, and I am continually amazed at the the vividness of her characters. I think I could read these books forever and continue to get something out of them. I only wish I had started to read them earlier in the summer; then I could have had the time to read them through a second time. (Seriously.) 

All this is to say that with so much reading, I haven't had too much time for cooking. On the few occasions that I decided I could put my book down for a few hours and make a meal, I was drawn toward quick-cooking dinners that highlighted fantastic summer produce. One of our favorites this summer has been frittata, a quick-cooking style of omelet. Start to finish it takes about thirty minutes and we've enjoyed it with everything from mushrooms to peppers to spinach. This particular version has sliced zucchini and summer squash, sauteed onions and garlic, and salty Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top. Perfect alongside a crisp green salad, this frittata is the perfect easy dinner (or lunch or breakfast), and easily adaptable for all seasons.

Summer Squash Frittata with Parmesan and Basil

Instead of squash, try mushrooms, peppers, spinach, fennel, asparagus, roasted tomatoes, or corn. Check out my post on strata for ingredient combinations. In total you'll want about 3 to 4 cups of vegetables or other add-ins (such as cooked chicken or sausage). In place of Parmesan, you can also use goat cheese (with sweet potatoes and thyme, it's another favorite), Fontina, Manchego, Gruyere, or sharp cheddar. Similarly, try different herbs to match your tastes and the season; everything from marjoram to rosemary to parsley would be delicious.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil 
1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 medium yellow squash, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped or chiffonade basil

Add olive oil to a 10-inch nonstick pan and heat over medium-high heat. Position an oven rack to the center position and heat the broiler on high. Add onion to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring contantly.

Add both squashes to the pan, spreading slices as evenly as possible. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until squash is tender and slightly browned, onions are browned, and all the moisture in the pan has evaporated, about 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl or measuring cup, beat eggs and mustard. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of cheese and stir to combine. Pour eggs over sauteed vegetables as evenly as possible, tilting pan to distribute the eggs throughout the pan if necessary. Cover pan with lid and cook for 5 minutes. The eggs will be mostly set around the edges but the top will still be runny.

After 5 minutes, uncover the pan, sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of cheese, and transfer to the broiler. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, until eggs are set and cheese is melted. Remove from the broiler and sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve immediately or cool and serve at room temperature.

The frittata will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.


  1. better late than never to the Harry Potter party! ...and my love of this egg dish makes me wonder if I've been missing out on other things egg for my whole life? (don't answer :-)

  2. I saw this last night and since we didn't have dinner plans, we made it! We used two big yellow squash, diced tomato, and spinach (and 8 eggs instead of 6). Since my pan can't go under the broiler, we just put it in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes after it cooked on the stovetop for 10 minutes. Delicious! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  3. Oh man, I miss the days when I used to read around the clock. College (and high school, grad school, a fair bit of my twenties) would not have been the same without that indulgence. I like the new features of your web site. Unless they're not new and I just didn't notice them before. :)

  4. squash + eggs + basil = instaheart.