A Frittata for a Farm Brunch

When planning a brunch, I find it helpful to prepare food that doesn’t have to be eaten as soon as it is cooked — that doesn’t collapse like a soufflé, or won’t spoil like soft poached eggs. The terrific thing about a frittata is that its flavor is enhanced by letting it rest.

A frittata is perfect brunch food.

A key ingredient in this frittata, my favorite, is goat cheese, which isn’t always available in Livingstone but is in our house. This is because Chris has a supernatural eye for honing in on any available speciality cheeses about to reach their sell-by date. Imported goat cheese, when you can buy it, is exorbitant here, which is a problem when you love it as much as we do. Preferring not to live without it, Chris made a plan that might have come straight out of a Graham Greene novel.

It started with a friendship formed around the shelf life of speciality cheeses in one of our local grocery stores. Today, he and the store operative (code name “Chèvre007”) greet each other like old mates. When Chris sees new stock on the shelf, he’ll jot down the sell-by dates of the cheeses he likes. He’ll then transcribe this information into his smartphone, to be reminded later with a special ping when it’s time to buy them for an ‘Nth’ of their original price. Chris will head into Livingstone, cold box packed with ice bricks in the back of the car. He will go straight to the store and begin trawling the aisles in search of Chèvre007. Et voila! Chris will return to the farm and walk into the kitchen announcing how he “LOVES a good deal!” He transfers his bag (sometimes bags) of cheeses into a dedicated section of our deep freeze, to be eaten later. Chris beams; he has a whiff of victory all about him. If he smoked, he’d light up a cigar. If I smoked, I’d join him.

A farm brunch.

The first frittata I ever made was Sarah Raven’s Red Pepper Frittata with Prosciutto, taken from her Garden Cookbook. It turned out to be such a balanced, flavorful dish, it is from this that I’ve adapted all my subsequent frittata recipes.

This time I had half a leftover butternut squash and a small batch of red and yellow peppers that I wanted to use up. I used the butternut in place of potato — a typical ingredient in what-is-also-known as a Spanish Omelette — but bulked it up with a white sweet potato to add variation in color and flavor.

A selection of the fresh ingredients I used in my frittata.

For this farm brunch I served the frittata with a garden salad made of spicy mix lettuce leaves, yellow cherry tomatoes, a little crumbled feta, crispy bacon pieces, and chopped spring onions.   

Butternut Frittata with Goat Cheese and Roasted Peppersadapted from Sarah Raven’s Red Pepper Frittata with Prosciutto recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cubed into 1cm pieces
  • 1 medium white sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1cm pieces
  • 1 large red pepper, deseeded with ribs removed, and sliced into quarters
  • 1 large yellow pepper, deseeded with ribs removed, and sliced into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 6 eggs
  • 200ml cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 100 grams goats’ cheese, sliced into bite sizes pieces
  • 30 grams Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Small handful garlic chives, finely chopped (save 1 tablespoon for garnish)


Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180/350 degrees. Roast the red and yellow pepper slices. (Click here to see how I roast peppers; this time, because of the small quantity, I roasted them over a naked flame on the gas hob).

 

Blackening skins of the peppers over the direct flame of the gas hob.

  • Heat the butter and olive oil together in an ovenproof 9-inch frying pan. When the butter and oil start to foam, add the butternut squash and sweet potato cubes and toss in the pan until well-coated. After five minutes add the onion and garlic, toss again to ensure they are evenly spread, and then cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat.

 

Softening the butternut squash and the sweet potato.

  • Whisk the eggs together with the cream, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Gently stir in the roasted peppers, goats’ cheese, Parmesan, and garlic chives. Pour over the butternut squash, sweet potato and onion mix in the frying pan, making sure the ingredients are evenly dispersed.

 

Make sure all the ingredients are well-mixed.

  • Return the pan to the heat for a couple of minutes to start setting the bottom of the frittata. Transfer the pan to the oven to cook until firm to the touch, about 10 minutes.

 

Butternut Frittata with Goats' Cheese and Roasted Peppers

  • Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature, and garnish with remaining garlic chives. To serve, some people prefer to invert the frittata on to a plate; I like to do so straight from the frying pan.
  • Serve with a fresh garden salad.

 

Spicy mix lettuce from our garden.

Some of the ingredients for the garden salad.

Annabel Hughes Aston is a writer and an award-winning chef in Livingstone, Zambia. She is the creator of "bush gourmet" cuisine.

20 Comments

  • I will definitely try this one Annabel. Gorgeous photos as usual. Kathy xx

    Reply
    • Lovely to hear from you, Kathy … and thank you! xo

      Reply
  • Frittata always a winner on the lunch menu of Birdwoods and thrilled to hear we have a goat dairy going in down the road so will try that when they are milking. Lovely photos and wish we could join you for lunch!

    Reply
    • Lucky you having a goat dairy going up down the road! Thank you for your kind comment, Louise … we wish you could join us for lunch/ brunch, too!

      Reply
  • Looks like good company and good food. But remind me never to negotiate with Chris over good cheese. 🙂 Thanks Anabel. Enjoy your frittata.

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    • Move over, Jim … here comes Chris, haha! 😉 Thank you for your kind comment. It’s great to hear from you again. All the best to you, Annabel

      Reply
      • Tell Chris he can have all the bargain cheese if he promises to share some of that amazing ice cream he wrote about the other day. 🙂 By the way, I too have childhood memories of cranking away on an old fashioned ice cream maker. And I never felt the magic when we got the noisy auto-electric version. Cheers!

        Reply
        • I will tell Chris, Jim … he’ll be thrilled! 😉

          Reply
  • That looks wonderful and what an easy to do company dish! Love the cheese bargain hunting tactics! Whatever you have to do, eh? 😉 thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Thank you, again, for stopping by my blog … and for your kind comment. It’s always great to hear from you. The frittata is really easy, and all the flavors work very well. Try it!

      Reply
  • Looks delish Annabel…will give it a try for sure. May be coming up your way in August sometime!! Will let you know xx

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind comment, Franks. Yay! Keep us posted … it would be great to see you! xo

      Reply
  • Oh Annabel ..What a brilliant team you and Chris make! I love the cheese expiry date trick..going to do it..we have a Checkers not far away from Riebeek Kasteel that does specials on Fridays. They had your favourite Chris on special one day…what’s it called Port Salus?? Hahaha I’ll be there ! We love chèvre and thanks for reminding me what a wholesome humble but gorgeous meal the fritata is. Yours looks spectacular. xx

    Reply
    • Lovely to hear from you again, Hellie … and thank you for your really sweet comment. I also love Port Salut! If we could buy it here there would be even more stalking around the cheese shelves! So hope you and Nigel are well … you sound it! Much love to you both in your lovely Riebeek Kasteel. xo

      Reply
  • OMG!!!!! I want to rush home and get into my own kitchen – you are such an inspiration!!!! This is brilliant!!! Stunning photo’s to go with the recipe too……..you could of course, invest in a little lady goat of your own – a real live hairy one, which you could milk each day and make a PILE of your very own fromage de chevre? But then that takes all the fun and excitement out of that bargain-hunt hey?

    Reply
    • Thank you for your super-kind comment, Lin. I so wish we could invest in a goat of our own, but I’ve heard that the goats’ cheese variety are difficult to raise in this harsh environment. I’m settling for chickens instead, the first of which are arriving next month. Woohoo! All the best to you, Annabel

      Reply
  • You’re so right: frittata is a wonderful dish for a party. And the leftovers are great for sandwich fillers. I will have to try one day with a winter squash—sounds delicious. Love the description of Chris’ celebrations of bargains! And what a handsome group you have around your table.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Michelle! I’m going to try the leftovers as a sandwich filler … that sounds so good!

      Reply
  • Beautiful family! And a gorgeous fritatta. Love mine with goat cheese as well!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your very kind comment, Chef Mimi!

      Reply

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