Friday, October 19, 2007

Tom's test kitchen

If you remember, we featured a stuffed mushroom recipe from Peter Pezzelli's family kitchen in the AfterWords section (page 271) that followed his tasty novel Francesca's Kitchen. And you may also remember that on October 8 on this very blog, I boldly vowed to try my hand at making another of Peter Pezzelli's favorite family recipes at home.

I wasn't able to corral my three daughters into the act. But I was able to whip up a version of Sue's Zucchini Frittata late one Friday night at home when all was quiet. (A rare moment at our place.) Below is a reprint of the instructions.

Since I was on my own for the event and since it was my debut frittata, as a test I halved the ingredients and followed the recipe closely. The result was beautiful. It was picture perfect, nice and fluffy—and a yummy late night supper. For cheese I used mozzarella. Along with the frittata, I enjoyed some white wine—Italian, of course. (I recommend Palazzone Orvieto Classico, about $9 a bottle.)

Of course, one of the first things I did the following Monday was e-mail Peter Pezzelli, to crow about my achievement and ask a few questions. More than one of my foodie colleagues here at the office had read the recipe and queried, "Twelve eggs?" It seemed too many and surely must require a huge skillet, they thought. Also I wanted to know Peter's wine and cheese recommendations for the dish. Here's his reply:

Hi Tom,
Yes, twelve eggs is correct. The more eggs you put into it, the thicker and more substantial the frittata comes out, but it's all a matter of taste. If you like it lighter, go with fewer eggs, but if you're serving a lot of people, you might want to use more. Sue usually uses grated Romano or Parmagiana cheese. She uses just an average sized skillet. The Orvieto you suggested sounds fine, but I generally prefer red wine. I like the Chiantis. Piccini is one that I've discovered that is very reasonably priced.
P.S. Have you tried eating the frittata with a little Tabasco or spicy mustard on it? Really good.

I immediately wrote back to thank him and promised to revisit the recipe armed with a full dozen eggs this time and three kitchen helpers--my daughters--and to have some Tabasco at the ready.

Sue's Zucchini Frittata

1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup grated cheese
2 thinly sliced zucchini
olive oil
1 whole chopped onion
garlic salt and pepper

Spray bottom of skillet with cooking oil spray. Beat eggs and grated cheese together. Sauté zucchini in skillet with olive oil and onion until al dente. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Add eggs to skillet. Let cook. Use spatula to check bottom of eggs. When bottom of eggs is brown, place skillet in oven under the broiler to brown the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.


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