Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Frittata of Zucchini from M.F.K. FIsher

Our friends at Edible East End brought to light this simple, nourishing recipe from the legendary M.F.K. Fisher’s wartime classic, How to Cook a Wolf — a book that expresses the natural ascendancy and great possibilities of seasonal cooking during times of hardship.

It's not yet time to bring in zucchini from the garden, but the supply is plentiful in markets, and unlike March tomatoes, they need no careful ripening to taste good in this recipe.

Below is Fisher’s introduction to the recipe, with her 1951 additions differentiated in brackets.

Frittata of Zucchini

From How to Cook a Wolf, by M.F.K. Fisher (1942, 1951)


This frittata is a good dish. It can be made with almost anything: string beans, peas, spinach, artichokes. Cheese can be sprinkled over it.
[As an older and easily wiser frittata cook I almost always, these richer days, add a scant cup of good dry Parmesan cheese to the eggs when I mix them. Often I add rich cream, too. How easy it is to stray from austerity!]

Different kinds of herbs like sweet basil, summer savory, on and on, can change its whole character. And with a glass of wine and honest-to-God bread it is a meal. At the end of it you know that Fate cannot harm you, for you have dined.

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion or 3 green onions

1 clove garlic

5 small zucchini

1 large fresh tomato (or 1 cup solid-packed canned tomatoes)

1 tsp herbs, including parsley, sweet marjoram, or thyme

9 eggs

Salt and pepper


Heat oil in skillet and cook minced onion and garlic slowly in it 10 minutes. Add zucchini cut into thin slices. Add peeled and cut-up tomato, seasoning, and herbs. Cover, and cook until vegetable is tender. Take from stove and cool.


Beat eggs lightly, season, and mix with cooled vegetables. Pour back into skillet, cover tightly and cook over a slow fire until the edges of the frittata pull away from the pan. If the middle puffs up, prick it with a long sharp knife
[…or better yet, pull away from sides once or twice with large spoon, to let the soft middle flow outward].

When it is solid, brown lightly under a slow broiler flame in a preheated oven, cut in slices like a pie, and serve at once.
Serves four.

7 comments:

Frugal Scholar said...

Once again, the frugal and the fabulous coincide. I've been planning a post on "How to Cook a Wolf." This plan is on hold because my son just "borrowed" my book. He said it "changed his life." Thanks for giving me a little Fisher for reading pleasure.

Imogen Lamport said...

Yum - love a frittata - but where is the wolf in the recipe?

greying pixie said...

I'm interested to know where the zucchini in your local markets come from. Not only is it not yet time to bring them in from the garden, it isn't even time to start planting them!

At this time of year I would use spinach, leeks and/or potatos. Zucchini are a summer vegetable and I firmly believe that your body thrives on fruit and veg in season.

materfamilias said...

I love a good frittata and this looks perfect (Love Fisher's writing as well). Like you, I'd be tempted to add some parmesan (or some crumbled goat cheese). Soon, the first spring asparagus will be popping up and they're also wonderful in frittatas, especially with new potatoes . . .yum! Thanks for the inspiration.

Duchesse said...

greying pixie: Hydroponic.

materfamilias: Mmmm! I've made it with simply new potatoes and parm too.

greying pixie said...

duchesse - yes, but unkissed by the sun! Anyway, a frittata is always a good meal all year round.

lady jicky said...

Now that sounds yummy!