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 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.
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.
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 Peppers – adapted from Sarah Raven’s Red Pepper Frittata with Prosciutto recipe
- 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)
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.