Eggs on sale this week: 88 cents a dozen! I love when this happens, so I stock up (they keep forever) and I think about egg dishes I can pull off that are healthy and fresh. I’m guessing that Mother’s Day is the reason for the low prices, and Frittatas are perfect for a Mother’s Day Brunch or for a dinner, anytime!
A Frittata is basically a no fuss omelette that cooks on the stove over very low heat until the bottom is just set, then is finished off in the oven under the broiler for a minute or two. If you‘re brave and skilled, and you’re making a smaller Frittata, you can skip the broiler and just flip it.
This is a wonderful Frittata with our spring Asparagus out – but Frittatas are also a great way to use up all kinds of ingredients that would otherwise languish in your fridge. Because the vegetables need to be cooked first, using leftovers immediately comes to mind.
Frittatas always seem to go well with a simple salad of dark greens or spinach – if you want to go hearty, a side of hash browns is never inappropriate. Our red lettuce was on sale for $1.49 a head this week and I used a little of Melissa D’Arabian’s Mustard Vinaigrette and threw a small side salad together for about 60 cents.
Asparagus Frittata, serves 4, cost $3.48
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup diced onion
- 1 12-ounce bunch asparagus
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup finely diced or shredded cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chives for garnish, optional
Melt butter in heavy broiler proof 10-inch-diameter nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for a minute or two. While that’s cooking, remove the tough ends of the asparagus and slice on the diagonal, about 1” pieces. Keep the tips separate from the stalk. Add asparagus stalks, sprinkle lightly with salt, and sauté until tender, about 6 to eight minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus is. Add the tips about three minutes in to the cooking time. If your pan becomes too dry, add in a tablespoon or so of water. Smooth to an even layer.
Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until uniformly yellow and light, then add 3/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to skillet; fold gently to combine. Turn the heat down to low and cook until almost set – it’s ok to gently push in the sides with a spatula until nearly done, but you do want a smooth top. It may not look too good at this point – don’t worry, it will come out fine.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top and broil until frittata is puffed and cheese begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
Note: the easiest way to spoil a frittata is to overcook, so be gentle!
Money & Time Saving Strategies:
For pricing, remember to use your coupon matching sites for your local stores. My favorite is Pocket Your Dollars in my area, but every store has a group of enthusiastic couponers who can point you to the best bargains. Don’t be discouraged if your prices are higher at first – just keep shopping the best sales and follow the strategies and you’ll get there! Check under Saving on Basic Ingredients for more detailed information and storage hints – use <control f> to search each page to bring you to the item you want to check out.
Eggs: At 88 cents a dozen, eight eggs are 59 cents. Stock up when they’re inexpensive because they last for weeks in the fridge. The date on the container is a ‘buy’ date, and you can expect them to last a good six weeks to two months at home past that date. Never store your eggs in the door; they keep best in a colder part of the refrigerator, in their own box. (Then put your partially used vegetables in the door where you’ll see them and remember they need to be used ASAP – the half a bell pepper or onion, etc.) See Dairy, Pricing & Care for more discussion.
Butter: Butter varies wildly in pricing, but the lows in our area are $1.49 on a great sale (usually around the holidays) to $1.99 for a good sale. I stock up and freeze. See Dairy, Pricing and Care, again, for more discussion. Cost for this recipe, about 5 cents – you could use olive oil, too.
Asparagus: On sale often in our area for $1.99 a bunch, in the spring we’ll see it rarely for $1.49 a pound. I love asparagus and try to think of ways to use it when it’s in season and the prices are low. This is a vegetable I can’t deal with frozen. You’ll want to be aware of the size of the bunch – some stores portion it in 12 ounces and some 16 ounces. I paid $1.99 for 12 ounces.
To remove tough ends, slide one out of the rubber band, and snap it, holding it at the ends – It will break in just the right place. Line that one up with the rest in the band and cut through them all at once. If you slice them while still banded it makes the job that much easier. I save the ends for my stock.
Onion: Stock up when the prices are low because they keep for quite a long time, but don’t keep them next to your potatoes. Because they’re always cheap, it might not seem as if a small change in price is worth paying attention to, but I use so many if makes a difference overall. Whenever I peel my onions, I save the tops and bottoms and skin for my stock. If I only need a partial onion, I’ll often just saute up the whole thing and put the excess in a zip bag in my freezer for a later use or put the onion half in my fridge door where I‘ll see it. I’m paying 66 cents for two pounds at Aldi’s for my onion – an average onion is about five ounces for a cost of 10 cents.
Cheese: Watch sales and coupons – I used basic store cheese here, Swiss, but you can go as high end as you’d like. Fontina would probably be my first choice here if price were no object. $1.49 for eight ounces, which is about 2 cups grated, for this recipe, the cost is $75.
Nutrition: Servings, 4 Cal 300, cal fr fat 175, tot fat 20g; sat fat 8g; chol 401mg; sod 1100mg; tot carb 6.31g; fib 1.43g; sug 1/45g; prot 24.3g
Put your Own Spin on It: Make the Frittata Your Way: Open up your fridge and see what you have for inspiration!
- Leftover green beans? Think French – use a little tarragon and maybe goat cheese. Leftover greens or spinach? Add in with delicate scraping of nutmeg or go full on Italian with basil or oregano. Pinto beans? Think Mexican. White beans? Italian. Leeks are wonderful as is onion or chive. Mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini and Broccoli are all good bets. Even potatoes are sometimes folded in. You’ll need about two cups of vegetables.
- Use any kind of cheese you’d like – it’s hard to go wrong – about ½ to a cup is a good amount. A few cheeses that come to mind: Parmesan, Romano, Fontina, goat cheese, ricotta, Gruyere and any of the block varieties…from Swiss to Cheddar or even Pepper Jack.
- Make your Frittata a little bit healthier by using more egg white than yolks, cutting back on the amount of eggs, and using the smaller amount or no cheese.
- Want to indulge? Add in various sausages or meats – Italian Sausage, ham, salami, proscuitto, etc.
My Payoff: An easy, simple, but elegant dinner dish that no one will even guess comes in on a budget!
Asparagus Frittata made May 2012