The subheading on this blog says recipes are more of a recommendation, and since I’m not a trained chef, and often learn by experimenting, I have to share this funny little anecdote which eventually led to the development of my potato and carrot frittata. A few years ago, when I was a newlywed, I tried making hash browns, even though I had never made them before. (It is rather funny since it’s one of the most simple things in the universe, and I had at that point already been cooking for over a decade, and making delicious dinners and whatnot. Breakfast foods were just a new endeavor for me, after years of being single, and eating cereal or bagels in the morning. ) Back to the story: What I ended up with was a gray, gluey mess. As I deduced from my grave error, when you grate potatoes, you should always rinse them in a colander to get the extra starch off. At that point, most people would have gone to Denny’s for hash browns, but I wanted to figure out how to fix that. So the next time I rinsed them, drained them, and then I heated up some olive oil, and threw my spuds in the big cast iron skillet. Within a few minutes, they started to brown up nicely. On ONE side. But I still had poor luck in flipping them over.
So the next time, I made one more tweak, which was to pour scrambled egg mixture over the top of the browned potatoes, and cook that through. I tried flipping that as well. Not so easy. Then I finally started researching frittatas online, and discovered that it’s quite okay to ‘finish’ them in an oven to get the top solid.
The moral of the story is that learning is part of cooking, and if hadn’t made those mistakes, I wouldn’t have come up with this, which is easily one of my favorite breakfast foods.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 2 people who eat a large breakfast, or 4 diminutive breakfast eaters.)
6 eggs, and 1/3 cup milk whisked together in a bowl
3-4 medium sized red potatoes, peel still on
5 fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp fresh chopped chives
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Peel and grate the carrot, and then grate potatoes either by hand, or with a food processor with a grating attachment if you have one. (This speeds up the process greatly when you’re really starving for breakfast, not to mention saves you from having bits of your knuckles in the frittata!) Rinse grated potatoes thoroughly in a mesh sieve or colander until the water runs clear. Let drain until the potatoes are fairly dry. Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet on medium high (cast-iron would be preferable, but any skillet with an oven-proof handle will do.)
Mix the carrot & potato gratings together before adding them to the hot oil. Spread them out in the skillet so they’re evenly thick.
Lower the heat to medium, and periodically check that the potatoes and carrots are not burning or sticking. Adjust heat as necessary. When things seem to have heated & cooked through fairly well, and the bottom starts to brown (check with a spatula along the edges) pour egg mixture over the top, making sure to coat everything. Lower heat a little more, and let the egg mixture set up. Sometimes this is sufficient and the top of the egg mixture will set up just fine, but if the bottom cooks faster than the top, preheat your oven to 375 and put the whole skillet in the oven for a few minutes until the top is firm.
Sprinkle with minced herbs, salt and pepper, and serve up with a side of breakfast meat like bacon or sausage. Sometimes I also put cheese on top, like cheddar, or feta, which is also quite good.