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It was my dad’s birthday. AUG-19 as he referred to it. He loved celebrating his birthday, and would start reminding us that it was right around the corner in early spring. As was typical in my family, birthdays were small, quiet, family celebrations at home. The celebrant got to pick his or her favorite meal and cake flavor. I don’t remember what dad chose that year for dinner, nor do I remember his cake selection. What made this birthday memorable was the gift – a portable cassette tape player. We all took turns saying something into the machine then listening to the playback. Later, when the adults settled in for coffee and conversation, my cousin Sally and I hid just on the other side of the doorway holding back the giggles as we eavesdropped on the conversation. This was made all the funnier for us because we’d planted the tape player under the sofa in the Record Mode. Pre-teen co-conspirators.

The part of the conversation – that has since become family lore – was about eggs and ways to prepare them. My Aunt Johnny was discussing omelets and my Aunt Jay said, “Geez, I love omelets.” The funny part was that Aunt Jay kept repeating “Geez, I love omelets.” over and over to herself during the rest of the conversation. Later, when I ‘fessed up about what Sally and I had done, my parents and I listened to the recording and nearly burst with laughter. I can’t eat eggs without thinking of my Aunt Jay. Such was the case last night as I prepared a frittata for dinner.

The Geez, I Love Omelets Frittata
prep & cooking time – under 30 minutes
serves two

4 large eggs, whisked well with 1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup each:
– chopped asparagus
– minced shallot
– chopped ham (I used Boar’s Head Bavarian)
1/4 cup mixed, chopped herbs (fresh from the garden tarragon, parsley, rosemary, thyme)
1/2 cup freshly grated Gruyère cheese
1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pre-heat the broiler with top rack in the center of the oven.
Melt 1 tbsp butter over low heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the shallots and cook until soft, then add the asparagus. Cook until asparagus are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. Add the ham, stir until warm then toss in the mixed herbs. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over low heat until the bottom is set (the eggs will look cooked at the edges of the pan). Sprinkle the Gruyère over the top and place under the broiler until the top becomes golden brown, about 5 minutes). Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan. Cut into quarters and plate; garnish with chopped chives.

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