Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beans, Greens, and Mint Frittata

And now for the token savory recipe of the month! I know I give the impression that I bake all the time (well, okay, maybe I do), but I do provide other food for myself to eat, and I really, really enjoyed eating this frittata. One of the things I love about egg dishes is how easy they are to adapt to the contents of your kitchen, as well as to make healthfully. This dish is all protein and vegetable fiber, with minimal fat from the egg yolks but great flavor.

The mint is a lovely touch; I actually think I like it better as a fresh seasoning for a frittata than I do basil. I had to make several trips to different stores to find the fresh mint and nutmeg required, but it was worth it!

This is the first time I prepared fresh fava beans (I've used the dried beans for falafel before), which was a satisfying process. The beans are wrapped in thick pods that are waxy green on the outside, furry white on the inside. The individual beans each ALSO have a waxy casing that needs to be removed, and inside there is the tender brilliant meaty bean that gets eaten. One spends a bit of time getting down and dirty with the natural bean packaging, unless one misses out and starts with frozen beans.

Of course, if you have favism in your family and are horribly deathly allergic to them, absolutely do not use them in this dish - but do still make some sort of frittata with mint! The dish would be completely fine with just greens or other vegetables mixed in, so don't feel limited. The beans do boost the fiber and protein content of the meal; edamame may be a good substitute to try.

This is one of the many new vegetables and legumes I've tried this year over the past seven months of receiving CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes of local produce. Any time I have mentioned kale, swiss chard, other greens, or beets on my blog this year, it has been because that is what arrived in my box, and therefore what I had to prepare for myself to eat. I have had a great experience with this particular CSA: it's delivered to my apartment complex, costs me $7 per week, introduces new vegetables to my diet, motivates me to learn new recipes, and moves my nutrition towards a more organic and plant-rich base, which makes me feel great physically. Not a bad counterpoint to all that baking, eh?


Beans, Greens, and Mint Frittata
Adapted from the Frittata Fève et Menthe in the Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook

3 C vegetable or chicken stock, or water
1 C shelled fava beans, fresh or frozen
2 C (several handfuls) cooked kale or other greens
6 large eggs
1/3 C plain non-fat yogurt
1 C grated cheese (Gruyère, Pecorino Romano, crumbled feta, or others would work)
12 fresh mint leaves, washed and chopped
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
a shake or two of black pepper

1. Fava bean preparation: After removing the beans from the pods, heat the stock or water to boil in a medium saucepan. Drop in the shelled beans and cook for 5 minutes (6 if the beans are frozen). Drain and drop into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Cut a tiny slit in the outer skin of each bean with a fingernail or a knife, and peel the waxy skin away with your fingers to squeeze out the inner meat. The beans can be prepared up to two days ahead of time and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

2. Kale/greens preparation: Wash and tear up/chop the greens and cook them for a few minutes in a frying pan until they become bright green and slightly limp. Set aside off the heat.

3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the interior with cooking spray or olive oil.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, cheese, and mint. Season with salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Gently stir in the beans and greens and pour into the cake pan.

5. Bake for 25 minutes, and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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