Fennel, leek, feta, dill define lemony frittata

A surplus of eggs recently warranted an off-the-cuff quiche for one of our weeknight meals.

Since I switched to making quiche in a 7-inch tart pan, instead of a pie plate, the meal comes together in less than an hour, including baking. And a reader’s suggestion to swap classic shortcrust pastry for ready-made puff pastry heightens the contrast between creamy egg filling and crispy, buttery crust.

Recasting the dish as “egg pie” for my 4- and 2-year-old sons has spread quiche’s appeal even wider. They’ve become familiar enough with vegetable-laden egg dishes that omelets and frittata are within their comfort zones, too.

Leeks and fennel, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, are two mild vegetables that fairly melt into a variety of dishes, from eggs, to pasta and risotto. That makes them great choices for recipes intended for my boys, including this frittata, courtesy of Tribune News Service. The dill and feta are among my husband’s favorite flavors. And the lemon zest pleases everyone’s palate.

Tribune News Service photo


2 small leeks

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1/2 cup finely chopped fennel, fronds, stem or bulb

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 eggs

3 tablespoons cream

1/4 cup crumbled mild feta cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons pine nuts

Halve leeks lengthwise and then slice crosswise into 1/4-inch thick crescents. You’ll have about 5 cups. Using a salad spinner (or a colander set inside a pot), soak in 2 or 3 changes of cool water until clean. No need to dry.

In a wide (10- to 12-inch) skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-heat. Scatter on the fennel seeds. Toast until fragrant, for a few seconds. Slide in leeks and the chopped fresh fennel. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Cover. Cook, stirring now and then, until tender, for 12 to 13 minutes. Set aside to cool down.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Stir in the feta, dill and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cooked vegetables.

Set broiler rack about 6 inches from heat source. Heat broiler on high.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter into an 8-inch, nonstick, ovenproof skillet set over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture. Using a soft spatula, pull set edges toward center a few times. Let cook undisturbed until frittata is set on bottom and not on top, for about 5 minutes.

Scatter nuts across surface; press them in gently. Broil in oven until nuts have browned and frittata puffs, for about 3 minutes.

Let frittata rest in pan for a few minutes. Loosen edges with a soft spatula and slide frittata onto a cutting board. Let rest. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

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  • Blog Author

    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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