For warm-weather entertaining, I like colorful dishes that can be made ahead. I favor those flexible enough to accommodate spur-of-the-moment gatherings and variations based on what looks good at the market or happens to be on hand. Such dishes are easily stretched by adding more of something or by doubling the recipe, and can be served lukewarm or at room temperature.
Frittatas are my favorite choice, easily fitting all these requirements. They can also be served as a one-dish meal, encompassing generous servings of vegetables, cheese and even grains, like rice or pasta, or become part of a larger spread of dishes, from salads to grilled fish and kebabs. And a frittata can be easily packed and transported, to take to a potluck or picnic.
A good frittata uses a lavish amount of sautéed or roasted vegetables and just enough egg, or a combination of whole eggs and whites, to bind them together in a firm but moist cake. Herbs, fresh or dried, beautifully complement that mixture. Unless a family member or guest is lactose intolerance, or avoids saturated fats or animal products, you can include grated Parmesan, pecorino, or goat cheese, whichever cheese best complements other ingredients.
If flipping a frittata intimidates you, use a skillet that can go into the oven or under the broiler to set the top and cook the frittata all the way through. Or, place a flat plate somewhat larger than the skillet upside down over the frittata and, firmly holding the skillet handle in one hand and firmly pressing the plate against the skillet, flip and slide the frittata onto the plate. Then slide it, browned side up, back into the skillet to lightly brown the other side. You can also try this recipe for individual frittatas baked in heatproof ramekins or custard cups.
Zucchini and Leek Frittata
Content Continues Below ⤵
Yield: Makes 6 6-oz. ramekins or custard cups.
- Canola cooking spray
- 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 small leek, thinly sliced
- 2 small zucchini (6-inches), thinly sliced
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 3 large eggs
- 6 large egg whites or 3/4 cup liquid egg whites
- 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat (2%) milk
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 large plum tomatoes, thinly sliced crosswise
- Minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 6 6-ounce heatproof ramekins or custard cups generously with cooking oil spray and set aside. (For dishes holding more or less volume, count on enough to hold a total of 4 1/2 cups of egg mixture.)
- Heat the oil in a medium, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in the leek, zucchini and oregano. Cook until the zucchini is just soft, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set the vegetables aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, whites and milk to combine them. Mix in the vegetables, cheese, basil, salt and cayenne. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dishes, dividing it evenly. Arrange 2 tomato slices on the top of each frittata.
- Set a baking sheet on the oven rack. Place the ramekins on the baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until the frittatas are puffed, browned and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let them sit 5 minutes. Unmold the frittatas and serve hot, or let stand up to 2 hours, to serve at room temperature. Garnish with parsley just before serving.
6 g. total fat,
2 g. saturated fat,
6 g. carbohydrate,
9 g. protein,
1 g. dietary fiber,
359 mg. sodium
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Vegetable, 1-1/2 Medium Fat Meat