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Bacon & Broccoli Frittata

July 2, 2012

Ever since we bought our frittata pan, my husband and I have really enjoyed making frittatas.  We love being able to experiment with the different ingredients we put into the frittata.  We used to make omelettes a lot, and now we’ve shifted from cooking omelettes to cooking frittatas instead.  It seems to me that a fritata is just a lot more versatile and since everything is contained in one tidy package, you don’t have to worry about stuffing, filling, and holding it together the way you would with an omlette.  One of my favorite frittats has been the bacon and broccoli frittata we’ve made a few times.  Then again, I really love broccoli so it’s only natural I would love bacon and broccoli together.

The recipe calls for the following ingredients: shredded cheddar cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, a mix of shaved parmesan, asiago and romano cheeses, eggs, salt, pepper, green onions, bacon and broccoli.  What I love about frittatas are that they are so flexible, you can really just use whatever ingredients you have on hand.  For this bacon and broccoli frittata, we just happened to have these three different blends of cheeses on hand, so we used all three kinds and that provided a great flavor to the frittat, but we certainly could have just used cheddar, or just mozzarella or any other kind of cheese we had.  You’re almost guaranteed to get a different flavor every time you make this dish.

I started with the bacon.  The frittata pan we have is a large 10″, in order to distribute the bacon evenly throughout the frittata, it takes a lot of bacon.  But again, depending on personal preference, use as much, or as little bacon as you want.  Also, we purchased a package of reduced sodium bacon.  As you know, bacon can be really salty, and use a lot of bacon in a dish could result in too much unwanted and unnecessary salt, so reduced sodium worked well.

I chose to slice my bacon before cooking it, that way I could just fry it up and not have to worry about crumbling it later.  But, you can do whatever is easiest for you.  If you prefer to cook the bacon first and then crumble it after it’s been cooked, you can do that too.

Once the bacon was sliced into thin strips, I threw the bacon onto a grill pan on the stove set on medium-high.  As soon as the pan heats up the bacon will start to cook and the fat will render off.  It takes 8-10 minutes to fully-cook the bacon.  I cooked my bacon until it was nice and crispy.  Remember, the bacon will eventually wind up in the eggs in your frittata.  I wanted them to be able to hold their own in the eggs and not get lost, and I thought making them nice and crispy would work best.  It also provides a nice contrast in texture in the finished product.

When the bacon has cooked to your liking, transfer it onto a paper towel lined dish and set it aside until you need it.  The pan you cooked the bacon with will now be full of bacon fat.  As bad as it is for you, its where all the good stuff is, so don’t discard it yet.  We’re going to use some of the oil later on to give the frittata great flavor.

Now it’s time to prepare the rest of the ingredients for the dish.  This may be a bacon and broccoli frittata, but I also used a little bit of green onion just to give the dish a hint of subtle onion flavor.  Dice up the green onion, using both the green and white parts – they both contain flavor.

Next comes the broccoli.  You can use just broccoli florets or the whole stem.  If you use the whole stem, you either want to make sure to get rid of the most fibrous parts of the stem, or just not use the stem at all.  As the stem can have an extremely tough and fibrous exterior that takes longer to cook, you need to adjust accordingly.  I happened to have broccoli florets on hand, so I used those.  Start by breaking apart the florets into smaller pieces with your knife.  The idea of the broccoli in the frittata is to have small pieces of broccoli sprinkled throughout the dish, not chunks of floret that you only occassionally find in the frittata.  You want to make it so that every forkfull of the frittata contains bacon and broccoli.

The point in cutting up your florets into smaller pieces is so that you can eventually obliterate your broccoli into really tiny pieces.  Basically, you want pieces that are so small you can’t even really tell it’s broccoli anymore; rather, its just this green blob!  How I did that was by taking my small florets and taking a santoku knife and just chopping down on my pile of broccoli.  Just keep chopping and chopping and eventually you’ll end up with a pile of small pieces of broccoli.

The last step in preparing to make the frittata is to get the eggs ready.  In a separate bowl, crack eggs.  I add salt and pepper to the eggs to season.  And then beat the eggs.  You want to beat them until they are light and frothy.  The more air you whip into the eggs, the lighter and fluffier they will be when they cook up.  So beat until your wrist feels like it’s going to fall off.

You want to see the air bubbles and the frothiness of the eggs.  The final step is to add the grated cheese into the egg mixture.  How much, and what kind of cheese you use is entirely up to you.  We looked at what kind of cheese we had around the house, and ok, we may have gone a little overboard.

First, we added in some mozzarella cheese.  We had made some pizzas earlier in the week, so we used the leftover mozzarella in this dish.  Waste not, want not, right?

Second, we added in some freshly grated cheddar cheese.  Cheddar is something we always have in our refrigerator.  And cheddar works well for a frittata because it melts nicely.

Lastly, for a little bit of saltiness and tang we used some salad mix of cheese we had on hand.  We had a container of shaved parmesan, asiago and romano, so we threw a little bit of that in there as well.  Once you’ve add all the cheese, whisk everything together.  You should now have a very thick, eggy mixture.  Set this aside and start cooking.

In the deeper, bottom half of the frittata pan, drizzle some olive oil, heat it up on the stove and throw in your finely diced broccoli.  An alternative, is if you saved some of the bacon grease that came off the bacon when you cooked it, you could use that instead of olive oil.  This would help to flavor your dish.  You want to saute the broccoli until it’s tender and you start to see some color on the florets.  This should take 5-7 minutes.

When the broccoli has been cooked to your desired tenderness, add in the green onions.  The process will start to go fairly quickly now, which is why you want to have all of your ingredients prepared in advance.  Stir everything around so that the green onions are incorporated in with the broccoli.

Now throw in the crumbled, cooked bacon you made earlier.  Again, stir everything together to combine and distribute the broccoli, bacon and green onions evenly throughout the frittata.  As your bacon was already pre-cooked, you’re ready for the eggs.

Pour your egg and cheese mixture directly on top of the bacon, broccoli and green onions.  Make sure that you pour the egg and cheese mixture evenly through the whole pan.  You should have enough eggs to cover the entire surface of the pan completely.

Now is where some patience comes in.  You need to let the eggs start to set.  You don’t want to mix anything, just use a rubber spatula and run it around the edge of the pan, allow any liquid egg to flow to the sides and underneath so that it can start to set.  Letting the eggs set right now should take 4-6 minutes.  Meanwhile, on another burner, drizzle some olive oil (or bacon grease) into the top half of the frittata pan and heat it up.

When the eggs have set, the top should no longer be liquid and runny.  At this point, you’re ready to cover and flip your frittata.  Take the top half of the frittata pan, which you’ve been heating, use it to cover the bottom half of the pan.  And then with two hands, quickly flip the frittata pan over, so that now the top pan is on the bottom and the bottom pan is on the top.  The frittata should slide easily from one pan to the other pan.  This will now cook the top (which is now the bottom) of your frittata.

But the frittata pans, still covered, back on the stove and let them cook for another 4-6 minutes.  Don’t lift the pan and peek, that just releases heat.  Just sit back and watch the clock.  After 4-6 minutes, the entire thing is fully cooked.  Take the top off the frittata pan, have a plate sitting nearby, and slide the frittata out of the pan and onto the plate.  Your bacon and broccoli frittata is done!  Slice it up and serve it.  If you have a pizza cutter, use that as its the easiest way to slice the frittata without destroying it.

You now have yourself a delicious, flavorful, and colorful bacon and broccoli frittata, with a layer of melted, yummy cheese in the middle.  But really, who cares what the frittata looks like, even though it’s pretty, it’s more important what it tastes like.  And if you like cheese, bacon and broccoli (and come on, who doesn’t?) you’ll be in love!  This is one amazing frittata.  The prep work takes some time, but it’s worth it.  And this is the perfect frittata to be served for brunch, lunch or dinner!

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