Spinach for breakfast, the sequel

I’m totally enjoying the feature on wordpress that lets me see what google search phrases have led people here, to my box. I get a lot of visitors on “aphid” related searches, and surprisingly few on “community supported agriculture” related ones. (Although I get a lot of CSA-specific visitors clicking over from the Eatwell list of member blogs and from the post on Chowhound about choosing a CSA.)

Frittata with spinach and Humboldt Fog cheese with salad

Super Easy Pan-Cooked Spinach Fritatta with Humboldt Fog cheese, green garlic, spring onion, and thyme (medium-pan sized, cut in half) with a salad of lettuce, red cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, and sugar snap peas

One surprising search phrase that shows up almost every day, sometimes in multiple versions, is some variation of “spinach for breakfast.” Which is, of course, the title of a post I made back in February extolling the pleasures of spinach as a breakfast food. My first thought of course is, “Wow, there sure are a lot of people who want to know about eating spinach for breakfast. Huh.” My next thought every time I see that someone’s search for breakfast-spinach information led them here is a bit of guilt. Because my first Spinach for Breakfast post is more about my personal, heartwarming journey to spinach acceptance than it is a helpful guide on how to use spinach in one’s morning meal. Which I assume is what all these googlers are googling for.

So I decided to revisit the topic of spinach for breakfast. It gives me an excuse to share a recipe I’ve been wanting to share. The other morning I was cooking breakfast (it involved spinach, of course) and thinking about how much this one recipe, which isn’t even a recipe but more of a technique, completely changed my breakfast life. I used to think I was “not a breakfast person” and “not an egg cooker” because fried eggs bored me, scrambled eggs eluded me, and frittatas were special occasion food involving all kinds of fancy cooking and flipping using plates or pans with heat-proof handles so you could finish them in the oven.

Frittata with thyme and Carmody cheese, tempeh bacon, pomelo fruit salad

Super Easy Pan-Cooked Frittata with Carmody cheese and thyme (small-pan sized, whole), tempeh bacon, and fruit salad with pomelo, kiwi, apple, and mint

This technique is usually how spinach ends up in my breakfast, but it’s also a great, simple way to incorporate most any kind of leftover into a hot, pleasing morning meal. It’s so obvious that I feel a little silly even writing it down, but I so distinctly remember the change in breakfast, from before I practiced this to after, that it seems worth taking the time to share it.

Recipe below…

Super Easy Pan-Cooked Spinach Frittata
The sky is the limit with this dish in terms of ingredients. I usually make this as a meal that for me takes the place of both breakfast and lunch, so 3 eggs is a satisfying amount. If I have a lot of other stuff in the frittata I will usually eat half and nibble the rest throughout the day. You could make a smaller one with only 2 eggs for breakfast, or you could use 4 eggs and a good amount of “stuff,” cut it in half, and share it with someone.

3 eggs (see note above)
Splash water
salt, pepper, tabasco
2-3 t. olive oil

Spinach (1 produce bag’s worth)
Garlic (and/or green garlic, onions, spring onion, red onion) (about 3 cloves worth of garlic and however much onion you like – but not more than one small onion) (garlic minced and onion diced)
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper

Other ingredients, in place of or in addition to spinach:
Cheese, cut into small pieces (or grated, but who wants to wash the grater?)
Fresh or dried herbs
Cooked grains (rice, quinoa, barley)
Cooked veggies (leftover stir-fry, roasted root vegetables, etc.)
Some of that dressed salad from last night that is beginning to wilt and no one will eat anymore
And so on…

To prepare the spinach: Cut all leaves from crowns and wash thoroughly. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. If using onion, add first and sautee over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add garlic and sautee until garlic begins to brown. Add spinach leaves and toss with garlic. If spinach begins to brown before getting tender, add a bit of water and cover the pan until spinach wilts, then remove lid and continue to sautee. Add salt and pepper, but sparingly, as you will be seasoning the eggs as well. Spinach should be tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk the eggs together with the splash of water (if you want to use yogurt or kefir for a creamy/tangy taste you would add a dollop of yogurt/kefir here instead of the water). Add some salt, pepper, and a few drops of tabasco and whisk. Add in the other ingredients you wish to use. The rule of thumb here is that you don’t want the amount of additional ingredients to totally soak up the eggs. So add in small batches, stirring them in until you reach the desired consistency. (For example, sometimes I put in a ton of cooked rice because I want more of an eggy rice-pancake than a fritatta with chewy grain bits, but other times I add only a hint of spinach, thyme, and cheese, because I want more of an omelette effect.)

If you still have something close to the volume of the three eggs alone (like if you only added a few herbs and some cheese) use a small pan. If you have closer to double the original egg volume use a medium pan. Put your 2-3 t. of olive oil in the pan and use a brush or a finger to evenly coat the pan with oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Let the pan get hot enough that a drop of egg flicked in sizzles and turns opaque.

Pour egg mix in and use a spoon to distribute ingredients evenly across the egg base. If you have a cover for your pan, you can cover the pan to help the top of the frittata cook, but if you have no cover (which I didn’t for many years) it’s fine without it. Once the edges of the frittata start to get firm, slide a spatula under a section of edge and pull it up, tipping the pan so uncooked egg runs out of the center and under the frittata. Move around the whole frittata, doing this with each section of egg. After a few minutes, once the new edge is firm, you can repeat the process.

Basically (through either a combination of this edge redistribution and covering the pan to steam the top or just the edge redistribution if you have no cover) you want to get your frittata so there is not a lot of raw liquid egg floating on top. Once it is pretty much firm throughout – it won’t be cooked through, it just won’t be liquid anymore – you can flip it. If you’re using the small pan it should be easy to flip just using a spatula and tilting the pan. If you are using a medium pan, you’ll need to use your spatula to cut the frittata into sections and flip those individually. Continue to cook until the new bottom has browned.

Enjoy your yummy, easy, hot eggy breakfast!

5 comments on “Spinach for breakfast, the sequel

  1. Leah says:

    Love this recipe. I just started getting eggs in my box and have been a bit intimidated in the past with frittatas. I also like the idea to add a bit of yogurt to my egg mixture. I always have yogurt in the fridge, but rarely milk. I already ate my spinach for this week, but I will substitute kale or chard – I am already looking forward to breakfast tomorrow.

    Keep blogging – I love to read your posts and just added you to my Google Reader.


  2. scrumptious says:

    Leah – I hope the frittata turns out well for you! I love yogurt in eggs, it imparts this subtle creamy, tangy flavor, plus, like you, I always have kefir and I never have milk.

    I’m SO glad you are enjoying the blog. Let me know how your frittata turns out, especially if there are any problems – since I do it by feel, I’m not sure if my directions are reproducible. You’ll be my first recipe tester!

  3. Leah says:

    I tried out the frittata recipe today and it was fantastic! I was a little too eager with flipping it, so I think that next time it will look a bit better, but the taste was not affected 🙂 I used 4 eggs, yogurt, collard greens, leeks, garlic, kale, parsley, and thyme.

    I also picked up some local goat cheese today per your comment about buying local cheese. It’s from Harley Farms in Pescadoro. If you have time, check it out – I really like their business model http://www.harleyfarms.com/. I am already looking forward to trying out their ricotta and feta. Thanks again! Leah

  4. scrumptious says:

    Leah – Hurray! I’m so glad the frittata turned out well! The “stuff” you added sounds soooooo delicious.

    I love Harley Farms! They are like my dream cheese source. They are local, pastured, use vegetable rennet (so their cheese is actually vegetarian) and seem to treat their goats well. So far I have only tried one of their cheeses, a fromage blanc, which was tasty but didn’t blow me away. How was the cheese you tried?

  5. Leah says:

    I picked up a little chevre log to try out. I am not the biggest goat cheese fan, but have been adding little bits to my salads this week and have been enjoying it. I haven’t cooked since last weekend (we’ve been living off of leftovers), but hopefully I will be inspired to add it to something this weekend.

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