Monday, March 19, 2012

egg season

As spring draws near the social calender fills up with semi-formal occasions; brunches, baby and wedding showers, Passover and Easter dinners, and graduation celebrations. The events tumble on until we can finally bust outside and start the party outdoors.

With new beginnings as the general theme of spring, my thoughts turn to eggs dishes. Eggs are the universal symbol of rebirth and immortality. They are part of a Seder plate at Passover celebrations and the central motif of Easter baskets. 
I usually start stock piling my egg shells this time of year, carefully blowing them out by pin-pricking each end and forcing out the contents with exerted breaths to preserve the fragile casing for decorative dying. This delicate task becomes monumental as the days to Easter get closer. I hate to have to blow out a large quantity at one shot - as I begin to tire the pin holes get larger and my cheeks begin to ache. The demand for eggs to dye shrinks and swells from year to year with the amount of children gathered in my home for the decorating activities.
This means having on hand a ready supply of recipes that require beaten eggs, to use up all the contents. An artichoke frittata is a simple dish that can be made ahead for a party- chilled, sliced and served as finger food.  Presented tapas style with a dollop of Romesco sauce, you have a perky and very tasty little morsel.
 Serve the frittata in bite sized pieces as a light nibble while sipping wine.

I recently can across this brilliantly blended white wine: Nautique Esprit de Blanc from Peconic Bay Winery on the North Fork of Long Island. The wine has a fresh fruity crisp flavor that is perfectly balanced, complex and fun to drink. It makes a very nice pairing for any spring meal. The jaunty label evokes a brisk breeze on the bay and it you find yourself yachting this spring, the artichoke frittata travels well.  
As a hardcore land lubber I will be sipping my Nautique from the comfort of home as I take a rest from blowing out egg shells, a task that gets me a little hyperventilated.

Artichoke Frittata

2 cups of artichoke hearts- they can be canned or frozen
6 eggs
1/4 parsley, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
•If the artichokes are frozen, run them under warm water till thawed, and then drain. If canned, rinse under cold water and then drain. Chop the artichokes roughly into bite sized pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste.
•In a small bowl combine the eggs and parsley and whisk to combine.
•In a nonstick pan heat the olive oil on a medium flame, add the minced garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.
•Add the artichoke hearts to the pan and stir often, coating the artichokes with the garlic and oil. Continue to saute for about 7-10 minutes till the artichokes begin to get touches of brown spots.
•Lower the flame slightly and add the butter, allow it to melt down through the artichokes to the bottom of the pan
•Spread the artichokes evenly across the pan and pour the egg mixture over them. Allow the eggs to seep through the artichokes without stirring.  Continue to cook on a low even flame and let the egg mixture set. 
•Using a spatula gently push the edges of the frittata towards the center as it is cooking, continuing to allow the egg mixture to seep down through the vegetables. When the frittata seems to be well set on the bottom, get a plate the same size as the pan. Lay the plate on top of the frittata and quickly flip the frittata onto the plate. Gently slide the frittata back into the pan and allow it to cook until the egg is set on the bottom side, for another minute or two. 
•Slide the frittata out of the pan and on to a serving plate. Allow the frittata to cool to room temperature before cutting into small serving sizes. 
Sever 4-8 at room temp.

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