Young bakers and cooks are taught to break eggs into a separate container. Like many home cooks also learn, it's easier to pick a few small pieces of broken shells out if you don't have flour and sugar obscuring your view. In restaurant kitchens, where hundreds of eggs are cracked each day, the other main reason to keep eggs separate from the rest of your ingredients is to keep out the bad egg should one come along. You'd hate to have to throw out a large amount of expensive ingredients in such an instance. The Whisk must confess that in the thousands of eggs she has cracked, there has only been one bad egg. And it was a really bad egg.
Amazing how it hadn't happened sooner, considering years of starting out each day perched over cases of eggs ready for the cracking. One Sunday morning, while making waffles at home, I reached into the fridge for some eggs that had possibly been hidden in the back for a little longer than could be remembered. Tap, crack, into the bowl. Repeat. Tap, crack, into the bowl. SCREAM. Glowing goo landed in the bowl. The smell was like nothing you've ever smelled before. The sliding doors were open and I was determined to get this demon out of the kitchen as fast as possible. For some insane reason, I decided that I needed to send the egg flying out the sliding doors. Except that I tripped. The smelly goo landed all over the track of the sliding doors. The dog came running to see if there was something he could lick up. He got just close enough to smell it and then ran in the other direction. The moral of the story is don't run with bad eggs, and definitely break your eggs into a separate bowl. What's your rotten egg story? Do you think of it every time you crack eggs?
Back to the pretty eggs. It's as if the hens got ahold of some Paas egg-dyeing kits. But the didn't. They really came out that color. Having a dozen eggs in your fridge is like having a friend you can count on all the time. They come through for you at breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Where you can especially count on eggs is to feed a crowd. Brunch gatherings are springing up and friends are ready to come out of hibernation. This frittata comes together in a snap with sautéed onions, rainbow chard cooked with bacon, and a touch of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan before the eggs go in. Sweet, smokey and tart met with a few creamy medallions of goat cheese score high marks for flavor.
If the chard stems are thicker than your pinkie finger, chop them a bit smaller. Otherwise, roughly chop the stems along with the leaves.
Cook the frittata on the stove top until the edges start to take form. At that point, carefully transfer your pan into a preheated oven to finish baking.
Serving a frittata in the pan is perfectly acceptable. If you prefer to transfer it to a platter, the first step is to hold your breath. Then, press a plate against the frittata and flip it onto the plate. Follow up with a platter onto which you'll flip it back to where the pan once was. This is best done when the frittata is slightly cooled off, but still warm. A spatula comes in handy to gently nudge the frittata and guide it into place.
Frittata with Caramelized onion, chard & Goat Cheese
Balsamic vinegar is the quiet hero in this recipe. It deglazes your pan to corral smokey and oniony flavors that might otherwise get left behind. The acidity of the vinegar also helps to break down the toughness of the chard and stems, shortening the actual cooking time. It’s sweetness creates a nice
1 large or 2 small red onions, sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thickness
3-4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 thick slices bacon, chopped 1/4-1/2 inch wide
1 bunch rainbow swiss chard, washed, dried and roughly chopped
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 oz goat cheese, sliced into medallions or crumbled in large pieces
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy medium-sized pan over low heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Gently stir often to prevent sticking and burning and continue cooking for about 8 minutes until the onions are soft and lightly caramelized. Remove pan from heat and transfer onions to a plate to cool off.
Using the onion pan without washing it, add the bacon and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat. If there is not a lot of bacon fat in the pan add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add chard and season with salt and pepper. Gently stir every few minutes and continue cooking until the chard is completely wilted, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and use a rubber spatula to scrape any bits off the pan. Once the vinegar has mostly evaporated, remove from heat and transfer the ingredients to a plate to cool off.
Beat your eggs thoroughly with a whisk in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add all of your cooked ingredients to the bowl and gently combine. Prepare a large oven-proof pan by adding remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil and place over low heat. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the pan and arrange goat cheese on top. Cook until the edges of the frittata start to take shape, about 7-8 minutes. Transfer to oven to continue cooking until done, about 7-10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook so you can maintain a light, fluffy frittata. Serve warm or at room temperature.
HOW YOU KNOW IT’S DONE
It is time to take the frittata out of the oven when the center is still moist but holds its shape without sloshing when you move the pan.