Thursday, September 2, 2010

Frittata Ranchera

Frittata is the Italian word for omelette, but throw some "Mexican" ingredients in it and it becomes a Mexican omelette, right? Well, a frittata isn't a traditional Mexican dish no matter what, but one of the great things about frittatas is that you can put anything you want in them and they taste great. So when I needed to get rid of some leftovers in the fridge, a frittata was a great way to use them. Instant Mexican-style frittata! I call it Frittata Ranchera. Why not?

Actually there's a difference between a regular omelette and a frittata. Wikipedia says it well: "A frittata may be baked, or it may be started in a frying pan. When started on a stove top the frittata can be finished in an oven, under a broiler, or it may be flipped and finished in the pan.

Frittata preparation differs from omelette preparation in that the eggs are beaten to incorporate air where the eggs for omelettes usually are stirred with less air incorporated. The additional air in the frittata mixture allows for a deeper filling and a fluffier result. Ingredients to be incorporated into a fritatta are added to the pan before the egg mixture (in a French omelette they are added after). A frittata is usually served in radial slices like a pizza."

So here's my version (choose your method: cooked completely in the pan or finishing it under the broiler) using leftover tortillas, ham, jalapenos and canned corn and a few other ingredients from the cupboard. Perfect for a late breakfast, early lunch or even for supper!

I like making BIG thick frittatas, using a 12-inch cast iron skillet, so I have leftovers for munching later (or even the next day). Leftovers make a great burrito filling, by the way.

Makes 6 or more slices, depending...

  • 12 large eggs (12 eggs for a thick frittata in a 12" skillet, or about 8 eggs for a thinner frittata or in a smaller skillet)
  • 1 Cup whole-kernel corn
  • 1 Cup diced ham
  • 1 Cup shredded cheese, divided (whatever kind you've got is fine)
  • 1/4 Cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. or more Jalapeno peppers, diced (I used some canned ones)
  • 2 Tbsp. red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 (6-in.) corn tortillas, coarsely chopped

Whisk eggs in medium bowl until thick and frothy. Salt and pepper to taste. Add corn, diced ham, 1/3 cup cheese, cilantro and canned jalapenos; stir until combined. (If you are using fresh jalapenos, add them in the next step instead.) Set aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet. Over medium high heat, cook onion and diced bell pepper (and jalapenos, if using fresh ones), stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and peppers are soft. Stir in tortillas; cook for 1 minute. Add egg mixture; stir quickly to distribute ingredients. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and it is lightly browned on the bottom. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Cut into wedges. Serve immediately with crusty bread, salsa and a side of guacamole. Wrap leftovers (if there are any) in tin foil and chill in the refrigerator.

If you want to finish this under the broiler:

Adjust top oven rack - you want the top of the skillet to be 4-6 inches from the broiler. Turn on broiler.

Follow the steps above up to the point where you add the eggs to the pan. Over medium high heat, add egg mixture and stir quickly to distribute the ingredients. Cook until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top (around 4 to 5 minutes or so). Remove from heat. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, place pan into oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn.

Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center. Cut in wedges and serve. Serve immediately with crusty bread, salsa and a side of guacamole. Wrap leftovers (if there are any) in tin foil and chill in the refrigerator.

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)


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