About Beth

Beth
Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene
Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah
Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug
Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy
Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi
Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan
Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry
Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma
Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim
Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Frittata with Artichokes | Main | Frittata with Green Beans / Frittata with Pan-Fried Onions and Potatoes »

Frittata with Asparagus

This was one recipe that I was really looking forward to making. When I was working on the recipes for our breakfast catering menu at our store, I fell in love with frittatas. I had never really made any up until that time. I had always been an omelet maker. Omelets were one of the special treats that my son, Zachary wanted most Saturdays. Needless to say I can flip one with the best. When I started making the frittatas it was a change to put the stuffing in the egg mixture and to finish it off in the oven instead of flipping it. It felt almost like cheating.

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I have a frittata that I make using asparagus, but it also has leeks, mushrooms, and fontina cheese in it, so it is much different than this one. This is very typical of Marcella’s recipes in that it is the simple ingredients that shine. Basically the frittata is eggs, asparagus, and parmesan cheese. Of course you season it with salt and pepper and cook it in a skillet with melted butter and then finish it off in the oven.

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The only dilemma that I faced in making this frittata was that the recipe called for peeling the asparagus. Asparagus is my favorite vegetable and I have eaten it in many different ways and I have never felt the need to peel it. However, in the interest of this challenge that we have taken on, I was willing to put that aside and follow the recipe exactly. Unfortunately, when I went shopping the only asparagus that they had were these very thin, little stalks. I sat staring at the stalks wondering how I was going to peel these little things. I finally gave up and didn’t do it, because I would have been left with toothpicks!

Then, the last situation that affected the outcome, was my ability to switch numbers in my head. ½ inch pieces of asparagus turned into 2 inch quite easily. When I mixed the asparagus and eggs together, I thought to myself that these pieces looked very large. I then went back to the recipe and saw my mistake, so of course I spent the next 5 minutes picking slimy asparagus out and slicing it smaller. I couldn’t get to all of them, but I made a valiant effort!

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After cooking the frittata, I sat down to try it and it was so good, I needed to have a second piece.

Comments (5)

Charnee Smit:

Beth, I agree that one of the fine things about Marcella's recipes is that they let the simple ingredients stand on their own. The frittata recipes are great examples of that.

I recently had prosciutto and melon offered by a friend. But rather than let the two things play off against each other so beautifully, she added soft cheese to the mix, and it just deadened the whole thing.

Delicious looking, Beth. Let me know when these hit the menu at the Fenton store. I'd love one for lunch.

Marcella Hazan:

Beth, my dear, I know that your asparagus frittata was delicious, but with those long skinny spears it doesn't look very much like the one I make. If you've waited until now to shop for asparagus you were lucky to have found any. This is really an early spring dish.

I am perplexed by your comment about peeling asparagus. You NEVER peel an asparagus stalk? What do you do with it, cut half of it off and throw it away? What a waste. If you don't discard it at some point, how do you chew it? The same way I suppose that you might masticate the barely scalded, next to raw green beans that all the restaurants serve. But to get back to peeling, why are Americans so hung up over a procedure that dramatically improves the taste and tenderness of vegetables and many fruits? Do you peel tomatoes when making a salad? No? Do you know how much sweeter they would taste? But if you do, forgive me for assuming otherwise.

Beth responds- Honestly, Marcella, I grew up growing asparagus and we alway just used the tender parts of the plants. Since we composted the rest it really didn't go to waste. I agree that in the past that asparagus would only be fresh in the springtime, but I find very good asparagus year round now. I don't mind the smaller stalks which are sometimes available, because the flavor is still good. As to cooking ahead during this challenge, I understand that some people are doing that, but for me it was impossible up to now.

Marcella Hazan:

At one time, on my father's farm, we also grew asparagus. It never occurred to us, nor I would guess to most other Italian families, that composting had the same value as eating. The whole stalk is tender, if you strip it of its tough green sheath, and it is delicious to eat, just like the stalks of broccoli or broccoli rape or of artichokes. It may be that the origin of our way of preparing vegetables lies in what once used to be the poverty of the people. Nothing that was good to eat was ever discarded, and no procedure was too laborious if it extracted all the flavor held in an ingredient. It also worked the other way. Italian cooks know, far better than the French, how to trim an artichoke so that it is all entirely edible, once it is cooked. It would be a waste of cooking fuel to cook a whole artichoke when only half or less of it became enjoyable to eat.

Beth, your frittata looks delicious!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 22, 2010 8:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Frittata with Artichokes.

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