Monday, June 25, 2012

Fresh Vegetable Frittata

“You’re bringin’ home flowers, and a bottle of chablis/You forgot I don’t drink wine, I know that bottle’s not for me.” -- Reba McEntire, “Take it Back”

Any recipe that allows me to quote one of the great Reba McEntire’s classic “he done me wrong” songs is a winner in my (cook) book. And indeed, you can count that song as the unofficial anthem to this Fresh Vegetable Frittata, seeing as a key ingredient is ¼ cup of the good stuff.

I used to thrill to the very sophisticated notion of brunch – a repast worthy of its own name and subcategory of meal-straddling foods. Brunch was never “done” in my house until I was at least a teenager, and then we were firmly in the French toast and sausage camp – no quiche or frittata for us. I had to get my egg-dish thrills from my friend Annemarie’s family – who made a delicious crustless quiche that was actually memorialized in song (though not by Reba McEntire).

Here, then, is a brunch recipe that clearly shows my aspirations toward a glittering future in which I would whip up a frittata and pour wine with a connoisseur’s hand. I’m not sure I’ve realized that future because now, as then, I had no idea what chablis was, other than fun to say. The recipe notes that the wine “adds a delightful flavor.” Expectations mounting, I headed to the grocery.

The "delightful" final results.
The wine steward’s eyes lit up when I asked him where to find chablis. He quickly ushered me to the French Imports aisle and brought down one of the two brands offered – both retailing for $20. Skinflint that I am, I quickly asked him what I could substitute, in the, say, $7 range. I can still see the disappointment in his eyes. Apparently, like “real” Champagne, Chablis is Chablis is Chablis. My dreams of substituting Two Buck Chuck died, and, taking one for the team, I paid $20, hoping I would find a new favorite splurge.

Now that I’ve eaten my share of egg dishes, frittata has always struck me as the quiche’s poor relation. But I have nothing against cutting a few calories, and a lot of time, by foregoing crust. We love breakfast for dinner at my house, and this fills the bill nicely for a meatless main, too. I had high hopes the hubby and I could quaff a glass or two of the star ingredient as an aperitif.

But … ugh. I got home, wrestled the eggs, zucchini and cheese into submission and cracked the chablis. I’ll grant you my palate has not advanced much past Boone’s Strawberry Hill. I am the only one at the Passover table actually enjoying the grape-syrupy Manischewitz. So, take this into consideration when I advise you to save your hard-earned cash and find a replacement, any replacement, for a $20 bottle of chablis, which I found bitter, acrid and most definitely not “delightful.” Alas, most of my investment ended up down the drain.

Fortunately, the frittata has plenty of tasty flavors to mask what chablis is bringing (or not) to the party. (For this reason, too, I suggest a more wallet-friendly replacement.) The frittata puffed up in a dramatic fashion. The fresh veggies, cheese and crackers were, yes, a delightful combination. Worthy of a brunch, breakfast, lunch or dinner. And, probably worthy of its own country-western song. Might I suggest: “Take it Back”?

Because, Reba?  If chablis is the best he can do, trust me: Cut him loose.

Fresh Vegetable Frittata

6 servings

4 medium tomatoes
1 cup chopped green onion
2 medium zucchini, cut in 1/8-inch slices
14 soda crackers, crumbled
6 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup chablis
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup grated paramesan (sic) cheese

1.     Peel, seed and drain the tomatoes well before chopping.
2.     Mix together the tomatoes, onions, zucchini and crumbled crackers in a large bowl. In a medium-size bowl combine eggs, salt, pepper, oregano, vegetable oil, wine and Worcestershire sauce.
3.     Add the egg mixture to the vegetable mixture, tossing lightly to blend.
4.     Pour vegetable-egg mixture into a well-greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 300-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.

·      I did not peel my tomatoes, preferring to keep my sanity intact. I sliced them into quarters and seeded them before chopping, and let them drain on a layer of paper towel while I prepped the rest of the ingredients.
·      I substituted 1 T. fresh oregano. It’s going nuts in my garden.
·      I baked this for 40 minutes, finding it too runny at 35.

Why Don’t You …
·      Make this in the summer with really fresh tomatoes, and that zucchini everyone’s giving away?
·      Substitute cream sherry -- a wine that does have a distinctive flavor?
·      Tell me if you love Chablis. Was my experience a one-off?
·      Get Reba’s 1992 album “It’s Your Call” from which “Take it Back” is from. It’s really excellent – especially that title track, which is Reba at her heartbroken best.


  1. I'm not sure I've ever had chablis so I will skip it. But I love fritattas! Esp. since I feel that without the crust, I can eat twice as much. Right?

  2. Correct! There's nary a calorie to be had without the crust!