In early June this year I helped cater an organic family-style dinner at Mount Hood Organic Farms. The weather had been warm, almost hot, for 10 days, but that evening we were surprised with a cold wind and it rained. Thank goodness the guests were in a huge, side-walled tent, though I think the majority of all of us, workers and guests alike, didn’t bring enough clothes. For 3 hours, my job was to prep frittatas with Pierce, the caterer’s husband and a fine, funny friend. We hid in the corner of small open tent, telling stories and jokes– I cracked and mixed the eggs and chard, and Pierce cooked them in brand-new non-stick skillets, 2 at a time, on a portable propane stove that was constantly losing its flame and needed relighting. We followed a recipe copy that Ginger had handed us, a recipe from Alice Water’s cookbook, The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution.
Pierce made 20 some frittatas. They went to the tables cut in 12 wedges, served with a huge family-style platter of mixed greens, red and yellow beets and local goat cheese. Alice’s recipe has a full page of notes and comments, a detailed explanation about frittata-making, variations and serving ideas, so back in Park City, we’ve enjoyed chard frittata warm, in a pool of tomato sauce, per her suggestion. Here is the recipe, pretty much straight from the book. If this is a sampling, we all must buy the book.
1 bunch chard, stems removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices, leaves coarsely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil, for the greens, the eggs, and the skillet
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt, for the chard and the eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Some fresh basil would be good too
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan. Add the onion and cook and stir about 5 minutes. Add the chard stems and season with some salt. Add the garlic and cook and stir for 4 or 5 more minutes. Add the leaves and cook until they are tender. Set aside.
Crack the eggs in to a bowl. Add some salt, 2 teaspoons olive oil and a sprinkling of both black and cayenne pepper. Beat lightly. Gently squeeze the chard, wring out most but not all of the liquid. Stir the chard into the eggs. If you have fresh basil, add some. (Ginger and her Orchard House prep crew had cooked the chard, onions and garlic the day before; it was ready for me in a 5-gallon bucket so I just had to wring out the extra moisture.)
Pre-heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. After a few seconds, pour in the egg mixture. As the eggs set on the bottom, lift the edges to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath. Continue to cook until mostly set.
Invert a plate on top of the pan: turn the plate and the pan upside down to turn the frittata out onto the plate. Place the pan back on the burner and pour in a bit of olive oil. Slide the frittata off the plate back into the pan. Cook for about 3 more minutes. Slide onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges.
Makes 6 to 12 servings, depending if it is an appetizer or a main dish.