Recipe: Courgette, asparagus, feta and za'atar frittata
PUBLISHED: 17:54 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:54 08 May 2019
This easy dish is perfect for a quick mid-week dinner, picnic or packed lunch.
Potato patata. Tomato tomata…let's call the whole thing off.
One of the questions I'm asked most is what the difference is between a frittata and a tortilla.
When you consider all the different types of tortilla for a start, it can get confusing so let's begin with those. You've got your tortilla chips - the crunchy corn-based things you dip in salsa. Then there are tortilla wraps, which barely resemble the beauty of a freshly pressed 'real' Mexican variety.
And you end up then at the Spanish tortilla. A glorious meeting of potato, eggs and onions in its simplest form. In tapas bars it may contain slivers of ham. It may come, pintxos-style cut into squares and topped with olives, silky anchovies, or Iberico pork. As cheap suppers go, the tortilla can be a real friend in the kitchen.
Just a short flight away in Italy, you'll discover the frittata - their take on the eggy, baked omelette. The word frittata essentially means fried as it's usually cooked on the stove, and finished in the oven. Again, what goes into the dish all depends on the mood of the cook and the seasonal ingredients at hand.
Like a tortilla, ham is beautiful in a frittata. Especially a dark-edged mountain ham from northern Italy if you can get your hands on it. But the predominant version I've eaten there has been vegetarian. I've had frittata studded with the tiniest baby broad beans, finished with fresh herbs, lemon and Parmesan. There have been tomato frittatas, oozing Taleggio. And another was spiked with blue cheese, herbs and asparagus.
I've taken inspiration this week from the garden. Well, not my garden, my dad's (or should I say his allotment). Asparagus is bang in season at the moment and growing prolifically on his plot much to the family's delight. And, my veggie box was rammed with long, slender courgettes. Together I've used them to give the frittata a little Middle Eastern twist, adding that mystical spice, za'atar - a headily aromatic blend of dried herbs, lemony sumac and sesame seeds. You'll find it in most good supermarkets these days. There's feta in there too, because I love the stuff.
Alongside a bowl of dressed salad leaves, it's a simple dish for a weekend lunch, or even a mid-week dinner. And it's perfect cut up into pieces for a lunch box or picnic. Do as I've seen in Italy and chuck it between a couple of slices of bread for a stonking sandwich if you like too!
Courgette, asparagus, za'atar and feta frittata
(serves four to six)
8 large eggs,
1tsp sea salt
1/2tsp crushed black pepper
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1 medium courgette cut into 1cm cubes
1 bunch spring onions (green and white parts) sliced finely
12 thin spears asparagus
100g feta, cubed
Oil for frying
Set the oven to 175C and line a 20cm by 30cm baking dish.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper and set aside.
Pour 1tbsp oil into a frying pan and add the courgette. Saute on a medium heat until golden. Add the spring onions and za'atar and cook for a further two minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the asparagus and cook for no longer than two minutes. Drain into a bowl of cold water then remove and pat dry.
Add the courgette and spring onion mix to the egg mix and pour into your lined tin. Sprinkle over the feta and lay in the asparagus spears.
Bake for 18 minutes until set and just starting to turn golden. Best served warm, not hot.
TIP: If you're on a healthy eating plan you can make this slimmer-friendly by using a one calorie frying spray to cook the courgettes and swapping the feta for low fat feta.