Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hearty Spinach Beef Frittata by Stupid Easy Paleo

I've never actually made a frittata before making this Hearty Spinach Beef Frittata from Stupid Easy Paleo.  Why?  Probably fear of learning that my cast iron skillet's seasoning wasn't up to snuff.  For a long period of time, I made some egg muffins in silicone muffin cups, but never in metal pan.  I've read many articles and watched many videos about seasoning cast iron and have seasoned mine as best I can, but I still feel that it's deficient as the surface doesn't appear as smooth as those I see on other blogs. My confidence was further brought down after I had to start over with seasoning after I made a very acidic dish in it (Don't do that!)  This frittata would put my re-seasoned skillet to the test.  

After gathering my ingredients and turning the oven on to pre-heat, I started by slicing the mushrooms.   The recipe calls for 4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms.  For me this was 6 mushrooms.  I had already diced a bunch of onions for use over the week, so I only had to measure them.  The recipe calls for 1 small onion so I measured out 1/2 cup of my pre-diced.  

Next, I cracked all the eggs into a bowl and added the seasonings and used my favorite whisk to beat the mixture.  

I heated my 10 inch cast iron skillet and added the meat to brown.  

While the meat browned, I strained the frozen spinach.  The recipe talks about defrosting the spinach in the microwave, which you can certainly do, but I simply put the bag of spinach in a bowl in the refrigerator the night before.  To drain it, I used my extra large straining cloth.  You can also use a cotton handkerchief or paper towel.  I dislike using paper towels for this sort of task as they just don't hold up to squeezing the liquid out.  

Once the meat was browned, I added the onion and mushrooms to the skillet.  At first, I was concerned that the frittata wouldn't fit in my skillet due to the mushrooms volume, but as they started to cook they shrunk.  I noted after making the recipe that she actually used a 12" skillet and mine is only 10".  My trusty 10" skillet worked just fine.

Finally, I added spinach to the skillet. I think I could eat this as is with a little hot sauce.  

Before adding the eggs to the skillet, I re-beat them a bit.  

I topped the egg full skillet with tomato slices per the recipe instructions. 

After 20 minutes in the oven, here is my frittata.  It appeared done, but I poked it with a knife and found it still a bit runny under the surface.  

I popped it back in the oven for 5 minutes more and when I pulled it out, it was a little browner and fully cooked.  

And now the moment of truth.  Was my work seasoning my skillet sufficient or was I going to have a huge egg mess on my hands? VICTORY! 

I decided to remove the rest of the frittata while the pan was still warm as it was releasing cleanly. Look at this glorious mostly clean skillet. 

Here's my pretty slice of frittata.  

A safety note.  I know all of you are super smart, but when you are handling a cast iron skillet, you must use some protection on the handle.  I have some pot handle covers that came with my Scanpans that I use. Once you take your frittata out of the oven, leave the pot handle cover on as you slice it as that skillet will retain heat for a while.  

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find everything you need for this recipe at your "big box" grocery store except for the smoked paprika and shiitake mushrooms.  I can find neither at my "big box."  Whole Foods has shiitakes but they are very expensive.  I get my shiitake mushrooms at the Asian grocery.  I bought about 8 ounces for around $3 there.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  It took me about 20 minutes to get this in the oven to bake.  I baked it for 25 minutes total after checking it at the 20 minute mark.  I think the extra 5 minutes my frittata needed was due to the smaller size of my skillet that made the frittata likely a bit thicker than if it were made in 12 inch skillet. 

Clean Up:  Everything except my skillet and straining cloth went into the dishwasher.  I cleaned my skillet by using a soap free sponge/scrubber, water and kosher salt.  Once clean and towel dry, I heated the pan over high heat to dry it out completely, and finished by applying a thin coat of coconut oil to the entire pan with a few layers of paper towel.  My straining cloth went into my kitchen laundry.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumps Up!  I'm so glad that I got over my lack of confidence in my cast iron skillet and made this frittata.  My pan passed the seasoning test!  

I liked the meatiness of this frittata.  My first thought when getting ready to make this was that the shiitakes could replaced by regular button mushrooms, but I'm glad I didn't do that.  I really liked the extra meaty texture the shiitakes added to the frittata.  

Strangely, the only question I had about this dish was the smoked paprika.  It's usually one of my favorite spices.  The frittata seemed just a tad too smoky in flavor for me.  I've not decided if I'm going to cut the amount of smoked paprika next time or all together.  It's a quite potent spice, so I might just cut back to1 teaspoon as a starting adjustment.  

When I decided to make this I was in the too lazy to cook mood that making a frittata seems to lend itself to.  I now understand why.  It's not fussy and at 45 minutes it could be a weeknight dinner.  I froze the frittata that I couldn't get to within a day in slices so I can defrost a piece at a time.  

If you've never made a frittata or the frittata is your go to feeling lazy in the kitchen dish, give this one a try.