Smoky Cauliflower Frittata from Plenty
With spring upon us and summer not far off, we are looking forward to visiting the local Farmers’ Markets to see what’s in season, looks the best and freshest, and to create meals at home featuring more plants, grains, and vegetables.
As you may know, we are making an effort to eat more vegetarian main dishes in our house. While it’s often difficult to break old habits and rely on preparing veggies rather than meats or chicken, when we can find substantial and really flavorful vegetarian dishes and recipes, we don’t miss the animal proteins. That can be a challenge as many of these plant-based recipes, while tasty, can leave us (particularly the hubs) feeling as through we missed out on something at dinner, primarily the beef, pork, or chicken.
When these meatless dishes combine eggs and cheese as proteins and vegetables along with a unique blend of textures and seasonings, we find them more satisfying and we’re not left with that still wanting more feeling. This frittata is one of those dishes and a recipe we will add to our list of favorite vegetarian selections. It was another hit from the book Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. The other recipe I’ve tried so far from the book is Lentils with Broiled Eggplant and Greek Yogurt and we thought it was quite good, too.
With cauliflower as the main ingredient in the frittata, I chose to use green cauliflower, or broccoflower, as it is called. With a unique taste, it’s a little sweeter and less bitter than white cauliflower. Broccoflower is also more nutritious and higher in protein than its white counterpart. The two methods of cooking the flowerets, first in salted water and than pan roasting in olive oil, really brought out the sweetness in the broccoflower and gave it a heartier texture in the final dish.
A smoked cheese, scamorza affumicata, is the primary cheese in the custard. It’s an Italian smoked mozzarella and gives the frittata wonderful flavor. Combined with the eggs, good aged cheddar, crème fraiche, sweet smoked paprika, Dijon mustard, and fresh chopped chives, the frittata is satisfying, unique, and delicious. Be sure to prepare the frittata in the same skillet that the cauliflower is browned in to retain any of the tasty brown bits that are left from roasting the vegetable. While the recipe calls for first cooking it on the stove and then transferring the pan to the oven to complete the dish, I chose to bake it for a longer time in the oven.
This frittata makes a beautiful presentation that is perfect for family weeknight meals or weekend brunch. It could also be served to guests. Get creative and use whatever fresh vegetables you prefer or what is in season and looks the freshest at your local market. When vegetarian dishes are this satisfying and full of layers of flavors, it’s easy not to miss the meat.
Here are a few of our other favorite main dish vegetarian recipes:
Lentils with Broiled Eggplant and Greek Yogurt
Mediterranean Salad with Spelt, Eggplant, Zucchini, and Marinated Cheese
Baked Manicotti with Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Smoky Cauliflower Frittata
Feel free to use whatever fresh vegetables you prefer to create your own version of this recipe. If you're not vegetarian, cooked and chopped bacon or pancetta would be a nice addition to the flavors in this dish.
1 small cauliflower or broccoflower, cut into medium florets
4 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
5 ounces grated scamorza (including the rind or skin) or smoked mozzarella
2 ounces grated aged or reserve cheddar cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Simmer the cauliflower or broccoflower in a large plan of salted boiling water for only 4-5 minutes, until it's party cooked. Drain and dry.
2. Combine the two grated cheeses in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Add the eggs to a medium bowl along with the crème fraiche, mustard, and smoked paprika. Whisk until mixture is thoroughly combined and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix in chopped chives and 3/4 of the cheese.
4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the cauliflower and cook until the florets start to turn golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Evenly distribute the florets over the bottom of the pan.
5. Stir the egg mixture again and pour over the cauliflower, moving the florets around to make sure the eggs and cheese are incorporated evenly.
6. Place pan in the preheated oven and cook the frittata for about 5 minutes, until mixture begins to set. Top with the remaining cheese and bake until eggs are fully set and puffed and top is brown, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, once eggs are set, brown the cheese and top of the frittata quickly under a broiler.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, slice, and serve.
Recipe is from the book Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi
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