Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Most people have been accustomed to that and when I mean most people, those people who have eight-to-five work hours or students. I, for the most part, have neglected that.
In my family, we prepare breakfast on weekdays since two of us go to school while one goes to work. But during the weekends, we do what the New Yorkers do—brunch! Honestly, if you have been preparing the weekly meal plan, you’d find yourself scavenging for breakfast ideas in your recipe box, trying hard not to have the same meals every week. Breakfast is the hardest meal to think off. And that is where brunch comes in. It is the perfect solution to this very critical problem. Combining breakfast and lunch not only gives you the flexibility in time, but in ingredients as well. Just as long as there is egg in the plate, consider it as breakfast, or this time, brunch.
My mom has been asking me to make frittata for quite some time now and it is only now that I am able to allot a slot for that. Huh. That sounded like a jam-packed breakfast line-up. Naturally, I researched on recipes which can be the best base frittata recipe that can be flexible in terms of mixing up the ingredients to make another breakfast or brunch item. The Barefoot Contessa found me. She graced the screen as if she knew I was looking for something that could make us feel comforted and prepared for the day. She had this Potato and Basil Frittata recipe that immediately caught my attention. I checked out the ingredients and everything seemed manageable. It needed eggs, naturally, potatoes, basil, gruyère cheese and ricotta cheese. And being the ambitious chef that I am, I have decided to make my own ricotta. The post will follow soon, so visit this site once in a while which includes another homemade cheese. And aside from that, I added another element to the upcoming brunch. I decided to serve the frittata with a slab of baguette (which I bought – nothing wrong with that!) and some garlic and chive butter. I had the ingredients for the garlic and chive butter so I made it ahead of time and give the flavors to develop and incorporate into the beurre. With the garlic and chive butter and homemade ricotta prepared, I was ready for the brunch the next day.
I woke up with the sun shining, surprisingly. We had a continuous pouring of rain the past few days and have never thought to see the sun happy to light the kitchen as I prepare the meal. And with the oven preheated at 350oF, I gently placed the casserole dish into the hot oven. As the frittata cooked, the house was being filled with the incredible smell of cheese. If only there’s a device which I could use to record or capture that smell and post it here, I would. It was addictive. And we had to wait for an hour for it to be done. It was agonizing.
Ting. The wait was all worth it. The frittata was fluffy and golden and with the butter bubbling on the sides. Oh, the smell of butter is just intoxicating! No wonder Julia Child loves it so much! You can really taste the cheese in it and how the basil brightens up your palate with its distinct flavor. The potatoes gave the dish more weight so that I could fill you up more. Because gruyère is difficult to find here, I opted to use emmentaler cheese as a substitute since both are Swiss cheeses. It also went well with the delicious garlic and chive butter slathered on the baguette.
The combination of the two cheeses made the whole experience rich and creamy and delightful and the added dimension of the basil was spot on. I have found a really good base recipe for a frittata. This is a keeper!
Ina Garten once said: ‘Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.’ That is exactly how I feel about food. And that is how this brunch made us feel. Frittata may sound like an American breakfast, or Italian, but really, food encompasses any country.
This frittata really does go well with a crusty bread with butter. We tried it with rice but it just does not fit. Bread is its best partner. I used large eggs only, not extra large. And again, I substituted emmentaler cheese for the gruyère cheese because of the latter’s difficulty to find.
Potato and Basil Frittata
From Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
2 cups peeled and 1/2-inch diced boiling potatoes (4 potatoes)
8 extra-large eggs
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 pound Gruyère cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch ovenproof omelet pan over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and fry them until cooked through, turning often, about 10 to 15 minutes. Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a small dish in the microwave.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, then stir in the ricotta, Gruyere, melted butter, salt, pepper, and basil. Sprinkle on the flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture.
Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata until it is browned and puffed, 50 minutes to 1 hour. It will be rounded and firm in the middle and a knife inserted in the frittata should come out clean. Serve hot.