Spring Frittata

A couple of weeks ago, I watched Morning Glory, a mostly generic rom-com with Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and the guy from Phantom of the Opera who isn’t Gerard Butler. The movie was semi-memorable for two reasons: 1) it was about journalism, which automatically made it interesting for me, and 2) it made me really want a frittata.

In the movie, Ford plays cantankerous “serious journalist” Mike Pomeroy, who refuses to do typical morning show segments because he deems them beneath him. (Thankfully Matt Lauer has no such convictions.) But in the movie’s turning point, he finally relents and makes a frittata, even going so far as to use the ultimate morning show term to describe it: “fluffy.”

Frittatas are easy to make, delicious whether hot, cold or anywhere in between, travel easy (perfect for packing for lunch) and depending on what you put in them, can be as wholesome or sinful as you like. Eying bathing suit season warily? Sub in egg whites and pack it with vegetables. Looking to indulge for a weekend brunch? Hello bacon and cheese, my favorite morning friends. As Pomeroy says in the movie, “the secret to a good frittata is in anything that happens to be in the refrigerator can be used, but you have to have a really hot pan to start with.”

As it happens, this weekend I had one eye on eating healthy and the other on bacon. So, eschewing the heavy cream of this extravagantly rich frittata, I added my favorite spring vegetables (asparagus and peas, of course), though I kept the hefty helping of cured pork. I also swapped in some egg whites for good measure. I mean, spring is around the corner and my winter-padded derriere isn’t going to just magically shrink.

Spring Frittata

– 6 slices pancetta (can swap with bacon)

– 1 small onion, diced

– 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

– 3 large eggs + 3 large egg whites

– 1/4 cup milk (I used skim because that’s all I had)

– 1 tablespoon dried oregano*

– 1 teaspoon dried basil*

– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder*

– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

– 1/2 teaspoons salt

– 1 teaspoon black pepper

– 1/2 cup frozen peas (or fresh, if you’re willing to shell them)

*You can substitute 1-1/2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning if you have that on hand.

1) In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, crisp the pancetta on medium-high heat until slightly browned on each side. Pat down excess fat with paper towels and dice. Reserve.

2) Reserve all but two tablespoons of the rendered fat, adding oil if necessary. Add the onions and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cover, steaming for 5-7 minutes, until the asparagus is bright green. Stir in the frozen peas and cook for 2 minutes more.

3) While the onions and asparagus are cooking, beat together the eggs, milk, oregano, basil, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper until well-combined and slightly frothy.

4) After the peas have been cooked through, add the pancetta and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet. Shake the pan and stir a few times so that the eggs, pancetta and vegetables form an even layer in the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes on medium-high heat without stirring.

5) Place a large plate over the skillet and flip the skillet, so that the frittata flips, cooked side up, onto the plate. Slide the frittata back into the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, browning the other side. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Note: Using a smaller skillet will produce a thicker frittata, which will require an additional 2-3 minutes of cooking per side.

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