A versatile, healthy dish that's best when from eggs raised in the open air.
Marco Pierre White: Frittata
This frittata is such a great little dish, and a favourite among the various women in my life because of its versatility. You can eat it warm or cold, as a starter on its own with a little bit of garnish, or a main course with some boiled spuds or whatever you feel like.
The other reason the women I know like it is of course that it's healthy. What could be better than free range eggs and veggies? You'll think I'm going soft on you with all these veggies, but I promise I'm not turning into a loony leftie vegetarian, but it has to be said, vegetables are a fabulous and valuable part of any diet.
The important thing here is not to skimp on the eggs. They really do need to taste like the chickens have been roaming around the Devon countryside. I remember a few years ago when my daughter was about five and I was droning on about eggs laid by chickens "élevé en plein air" as the label said on a box of posh French eggs I had bought.
"What does that mean?" she asked me.
"Raised in the open air," I told her, as I was sure Free Range wasn't in her vocab. "Which makes the eggs tastier."
"Oh," she said. "Am I raised in open air?"
I'm not sure if you can call Holland Park the open air, but I guess it is one of London's leafier districts…
Anyway, back to the old frittata. This is of course like an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla, or as Delia Smith called it, "Italy's version of an open-faced omelette." As always, the Italians do it better: What would you rather eat? A frittata or an open-faced omelette?
I have made suggestions as to what you should put into your frittata, but of course this is not set in stone and you can vary it according to what you feel like, or what you happen to have in your fridge.
The only thing I am strict about is the eggs; find the absolute best ones you can, or it will taste like something from a greasy spoon caff. And for those of you who don't know what that is, well, they are a great British institution, cheap cafes that serve such classics as the English cooked breakfast and beans on toast.
But their eggs are almost certainly usually not "raised in the open air".
MAKE IT YOURSELF
2 large knobs of butter
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 medium onions, very finely sliced (not chopped)
2 courgettes, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
6 cold boiled potatoes, skin on, diced
14 large organic eggs
1 good handful chopped flat parsley leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Warm the butter and oil over fairly high heat in a non-stick fry pan and sauté the vegetables gently until they are soft and a little crisp around the edges.
2. Add a little olive oil if necessary, and take care not to let the vegetable mixture catch and burn in the pan.
3. Beat the eggs and season well, adding half of the parsley. Turn the heat down and add the eggs, keeping the contents of the pan moving so that the egg mixture coats all of the vegetables.
4. Let the frittata cook slowly. As it solidifies, tip the pan so that the liquid egg drains from the top to the bottom, but other than that let it be.
5. When the frittata is quite firm, place a large plate over the frying pan, turn the frittata over onto the plate, then slide it upside down and then back into the pan.
6. Let it cook for a further 5 minutes or so on the bottom. Scatter the remaining parsley over the frittata and serve. (Can also be chilled and served cold.)