It’s that time of year again: when many families increase our efforts to squeeze every last drop of summertime in before the new school season starts. It happens every year for many of us—this “Holy cow! What happened to summer and how did it fly by so fast?!” thing—yet for some reason, this year, the season seems to have gone by much quicker than in past years. At least it felt that way for me.
The past few months have been jam-packed with activity for our family, which is likely one of the reasons it seems like it was just last month that my kiddo was graduating kindergarten. And I have loved every second of it—even the hectic nature of it all! However, I’ve still had the chance to experience some of the more leisurely parts of the season: the quiet morning when I can relax a little longer over my cup of tea, the lack of a frantic rush to get out the door “before the bell rings,” and the laidback, plan-free days for my daughter during which we can often just go with the flow. But as wonderful as it all has been, I am feeling ready to get back into more of a routine.
One thing I notice during the summer months: there is much less structure around many of our meals. Like the rest of our less-structured daily activities, we eat when we want, without much thought to a schedule, unless there is a pressing need to plan. I love the notion of eating when my body asks for food rather than at preset times, which is something that seems more attainable on lazy days (read: Not trying to get out the door before 8 in the morning with a 6 year old) than others. The problem is, on those early mornings, I either need to eat breakfast when I’m not actually hungry yet, or pack a great breakfast to eat on the road. The latter is attainable, but often our options are somewhat limited to stuff we can eat with our hands—really that means a lot of foods, like baked goods, that just don’t keep my energy levels working as efficiently as I like, without crashing.
Enter the frittata: my favorite on-the-go versatile food and a staple in our house all year. But it’s especially popular when the school season starts and we’re scrambling to get used to routine again.
For those of you who might not know, the frittata is somewhat of the Italian answer to the quiche, minus a crust. There are, of course, other differences between the two, primarily that a frittata is usually much denser than a quiche (a quality quiche custard is usually made with more cream than eggs, resulting in more of a creamy, silken texture). Traditionally, frittatas do not use any milk products at all, though I like to pull some wisdom from both these culture’s egg dishes, and I add a little heavy cream to my eggs when making frittata, paying homage to both the Italian and French side.
Besides its amazing versatility—it can be made with almost anything you have on-hand in your fridge or pantry—it boasts the ability to be frozen and defrosted without much change in texture, and can be eaten hot, room temperature, or cold—enjoy it as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a quick snack!
As mentioned, the options are endless with frittatas. However, this version, packed with flavorful, spicy chorizo sausage and juicy zucchini is our newest favorite! A key secret is to lightly salt it and then squeeze the excess moisture from the fruit before using. (Botanically, zucchinis are fruits, a type of botanical berry called a “pepo,” which is the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.) It’s a great way to use up a bountiful crop of zucchini from your garden and because this recipe uses grated zucchini, you can even include the overgrown, misshapen ones you might not otherwise use!
This results in a frittata that is packed with veggies, but not soggy. A finishing touch of sweetness, from Roma tomatoes, rounds out the flavor.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
This recipe uses an 8-inch pan to cook the frittata, but you may also use muffin cups for a perfect hand-held serving. Just note that baking time may need to be adjusted.
2 to 3 medium zucchini, yellow squash, or a mix; coarsely grated
½ to ⅔ pound bulk chorizo sausage
6 eggs, preferably pastured
½ cup heavy cream, preferably raw
2 ounces crumbled or shredded cheese (optional); I suggest a strong-flavored cheese like feta or sharp cheddar
Salt and pepper
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced or diced
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Sprinkle grated zucchini with salt and let drain in a colander or sieve for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the liquid from the zucchini with your hands and set aside.
- While the zucchini drains, cook the chorizo in a shallow, well-seasoned 8-inch pan until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Keep pan to cook the frittata.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and cream together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine the zucchini and chorizo and spread evenly in the pan. Pour the egg mixture atop chorizo mix and lightly spread with a spoon, so the egg distributes evenly among the filling. Sprinkle with cheese, if using. Arrange tomato on top.
- Bake until puffed and just firm in the center, about 20 minutes. If it’s not quite done, check periodically, every couple minutes or so, until just cooked through.
- Cool the frittata in the pan, on a cooling rack, for about 15 minutes, and then run a rubber spatula around the edge and under the bottom. Tilt pan and, using a spatula, slide the frittata onto the cooling rack. If your pan is well-seasoned, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Alternately, place a plate or a second cooling rack atop frittata and carefully, but swiftly, flip over so the frittata is inverted. Flip back onto cooling rack, face-up. Cut into 4 big wedges and serve hot or cold.
Image by Briana Goodall.