I have introduced my husband Randy to many different foods over the nine years we have known each other. In some ways, I feel like I have introduced him to food period. Randy has always been athletic and so he has always viewed food as fuel. Before he met me, he had some crazy calculation for the protein to carb to vegetable ratio so that he could just keep moving without bonking. It had very little to do with taste. There was a lot of tuna, chicken, rice, and salsa in his life. Occasionally a vegetable or two.
Then along comes me. Vegetarian. Loves to eat. Loves to dine out. Loves to talk about food. Loves to research restaurants in far away cities. Loves to obsess about each and every upcoming meal. I’ve got to hand it to the guy – he has made a huge effort to embrace the obsession. He tries new restaurants with me. He enthusiastically eats everything that I cook, even the most aggressively vegetarian food (he is a carnivore). He has opened his mind up to food that he thought he hated. And I have converted him. Peas, lentils, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and tofu used to be on the black list. He eats all of them now. (Brussels sprouts are still dicey and cauliflower only if it is roasted. But still, progress.) The only dislike he holds on to is beets. And I can live with that for now.
But before I pat myself on the back too heartily, there are foods he has brought into my life for which I am eternally grateful. It is hard for me to believe, but I had never tasted Pho (the Vietnamese rice noodle soup) before a trip we took to Vancover together. Now Pho is a large part of our family’s life. He also reawakened my love for Mexican food, spicy food in general, and he made me embrace onions.
I still don’t like raw onions, but I do love them in all other ways. Especially caramelized onions. I have been cooking up lots of them lately. I love them in these tarts, and in a quick and easy appetizer that I will share here shortly. When my brother and sister-in-law came for brunch yesterday, I knew I wanted to make this frittata. I’m not sure why so much time has gone by since my last go-around with this lovely dish but I guess that’s what happens in a busy kitchen.
Now, you might be wondering – are those eggs brown? Did she overcook the frittata? We all know that overcooked eggs are one of the worst things about brunches in restaurants, right? Let me reassure you. That brown top is actually balsamic vinegar that has been cooked down so that it is syrupy and sweet, and then brushed over the top of the frittata. Not an A+ in the looks department but definitely in the taste department.
Want another Frittata? Check out this one.
Frittata with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Sage
Adapted from Fields of Greens
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
3 ounces mild creamy goat cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp. Reduced Balsamic Vinegar (method follows)
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet; add the onions, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sauté the onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes to release their juices. Add the garlic; continue to cook over medium heat for about 40 minutes, gently scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to keep the onions from sticking as they caramelize. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside to cool. (DT: These can be made days in advance. Put in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in the onions along with the Parmesan and sage. In a 9-inch sauté pan with an ovenproof handle, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil to just below the smoking point. Swirl the oil around the sides of the pan to coat it. Turn the heat down to low, then immediately pour the frittata mixture into the pan. The eggs will sizzle from the heat. Crumble in the goat cheese and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the sides begin to set; transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the frittata is golden and firm.
Loosen the frittata gently with a rubber spatula; the bottom will tend to stick to the pan. Place a plate over the pan, flip it over, and turn the frittata out. Brush the bottom and sides with the vinegar and cut into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For the balsamic vinegar, heat 6 tablespoons of vinegar in a small saucepan and cook down gently until it is reduced by half. If you want to have some of these amazing taste treat on hand, just make extra and store it in the refrigerator. This process goes quickly, so watch your pot carefully.