The Way I Was

Arugula, Fennel, Red Pepper and Gruyére Frittata

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Frittata--Italian Omelette. Instead of folding the egg around the filling, mix it all up, like a quiche without crust. 

This might be the yummiest frittata ever. But if you don’t like Arugula, or Fennel, or Red Pepper, or Swiss Cheese, just substitute ingredients you do like. Anything in your fridge that’s edible, will do.

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Arugula, egg, red pepper, fennel, artichoke heart, gruyere.

Here’s the technique for making a frittata– repurposed from when I was just beginning to blog and had exactly zero readers. I’m saying this isn’t actually a repost, because the first post didn’t count. (If a blogpost falls into cyberspace and no one reads it, is it still a post? Answer: NO!):

How to Make a Clean-out-the-Fridge Frittata (from April, 2012)

Tracy Lee Karner's recipe
From leftovers into Art!
  • 1) The frittata will finish under the broiler, so use an oven-proof pan.
  • 2) First, pull some leftovers out of the fridge (you save leftovers, right?) The night before I wrote this non-post, we had tacos. I found  about a 1/4 cup each of leftover chopped peppers and onions, co-jack cheese, quesa fresca, and cilantro. Also, part of a jalapeño, some canned tomatoes (petite diced), and lurking in the corner was 1/4 of a boiled potato. I added one sausage patty to the mix, because my husband thinks meat is one of the basic food groups, and who am I to tell him otherwise? Food is such a personal thing, and he’s significantly older and frequently wiser than I, so I don’t interfere with what he wants to eat.
  • 3) Before frying, sprinkle the boiled potato with all-purpose seasoning (Ken makes our house blend; use whichever kind you’re partial to).
    • For other possible leftover combinations, jump to here:
    • And, if you don’t feel like cooking, put it all on top of a bed of lettuce and make a salad (yes, even the potato). Jump here for a picture of how to turn leftovers into a lunch, pretty enough for company.
  • 4) A small splash of oil helps keep the egg from sticking. Sprinkle in pepper to taste, (frying the pepper makes its flavor burst!) Brown the meat over medium heat about 2 minutes.
  • 5) Add the veggies, and then the potato and stir, brown for a minute, and stir again. I’m about 3 minutes into this, (not counting the gathering of leftovers before I started cooking).
  • 6) Pour the egg into the pan and swirl (when I’m using cast iron, I hold onto the handle with a potholder). Turn the burner(s) off now! I use two small skillets, for customization options. (This is how I manage to live in harmony with hubby’s desire–which might very well be his need–for quite a bit more meat than I want).
  • 7) With the pan(s) still sitting on the turned-off burners, arrange the wet and/or sticky ingredients (such as tomatoes & cheese) on top of the eggs. Now we’re about 4 minutes into this project.
  • 8) Now, pop the skillet(s) under the broiler for 3-4 minutes. Set the table, and remember to use a potholder when removing the pan from the oven.
  • 9) Slide a spatula under the frittata and loosen all the way around. Plate it, sprinkle with herbs & serve.
Tracy Lee Karner recipe
Pretty leftovers, with 2 beaten eggs.
Tracy Lee Karner recipe
His and hers breakfasts.
Tracy Lee Karner recipe
Yes, I use a little oil.
Tracy Lee Karner recipe
Spread everything out evenly.
Tracy Lee Karner recipe
Brown and stir.
Tracy Lee Karner recipe
The egg’s all in and swirled.
Tracy Lee Karner recipe
I’m almost a food designer.
Tracy Lee Karner's breakfast
Every meal is a celebration.
Tracy Lee Karner frittata
Salt is optional.

I embellish almost every plate with a couple slices of raw veggies, and in this case, also some multi-grain toast.

Other leftover combinations to try:

  • Broccoli, onion, ham & cheese;
  • roast beef, potatoes & carrots;
  • chicken & red peppers;
  • smoked salmon,
  • asparagus & cream cheese,
  • anything, really, that you need to use up, even arugula, fennel, red pepper gruyére from last night’s salad.

Or, if you’re not in the mood to cook, and especially if your leftovers came from tacos, make a salad. The important thing is, clean up the leftovers:

Tracy Lee Karner recipe
A pretty salad…

What’s your favorite combination of leftovers?

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30 thoughts on “Arugula, Fennel, Red Pepper and Gruyére Frittata”

  1. I always feel bad when leftovers get tossed, even though they are recycled onto the compost pile. I’ve used some of my leftovers in similar ways – stir-fries and salads – but never knew they came with such an exquisite name! Or so pretty! Maybe I need to start taking photos of my meals – change my way of thinking!

      1. You two have so much fun with your food! I’m starting too also, now that I am “retired” or whatever one might call it!

        1. Fun with food! I hadn’t thought of it that way, exactly, but it certainly does describe it.

          I’m working on that alphabet book, (help for living well, despite chronic pain/illness) and you’ve just helped me refine my focus. We have to eat, so making food fun = making life fun! 🙂

  2. Looks delicious! I’ve been wanting to try making a frittata for awhile but haven’t gotten around to the step of getting a pan that can go under the broiler.

      1. My pleasure, Tracy. It’s one contest that I’m frantically trying to finish my book before the publisher’s deadline. I’m close to finishing the first draft. It’s tough with a full-time job, but I’m determined to get this done.

  3. I’m impressed with all the step by step directions in your first blog post Tracy! I’ve always wanted to do this for my readers because it’s so much fun to see a recipe come together in pictures. On to this delicious looking frittata- what a great way to use up some extra ingredients in the fridge. If you can believe it, I’ve actually never made one before! I’m feeling inspired now though 🙂

    1. I stopped doing the step-by-steps because they took so long to photograph and post. But then I realized I had all this old stuff in the archives, and nobody had ever read it…..

      I don’t find it surprising that you’ve never made a frittata. I’m the only person I know who makes them. (We’re not from an Italian community). Try one — so much simpler than an omelette, and in my opinion, tastier.

  4. I’ve just sautéed up one red onion, chopped some bacon and added some asparagus tips. Lots of black pepper, stir in a tub of creme fraiche with a grating of Parmesan cheese and stir into penne pasta. Easy supper dish and clears out the left overs. De- lish!

  5. Tracy, I have re-blogged posts where maybe five people commented. I even include their comments, sometimes making a current response saying, “I can’t believe I am so lucky to still have you around!” I used to worry, rewrite and make almost articles or ‘college papers’ out of my posts after I got through several series of love stories, Tracy. I don’t think either of us, does this too often. . .
    You did a lot of work in your presentation so I am pleased to see this post. It was ‘new to me!’
    As far as your ingredients, I love all of them except fennel seeds. I would substitute an Italian seasonings that would include oregano and parsley. I love making eggs mixed with different leftovers from the fridge but this post made it become “an art!”

    1. I didn’t use the seeds in this, Robin. I used the fresh bulb, slivered, and the fronds, chopped. Not quite as concentrated a licorice flavor. I’m not a huge fan of the seeds myself, except now and then a hint in an Italian seasoning blend.

      I like that — the art of egging. Or something…. 🙂

  6. Frittatas are our favorite go-to, quick-fix, mix up all kinds of things, evening meal after a long, busy day. And now you’ve given me more ideas. Our favorite bread to toast and serve with frittatas is Black Forest Rye, a very dark rye with a crunchy combination of rye, sesame and sunflower seeds.

  7. I don’t need a subscription to Food & Wine; I have your blog posts. Lovely table too!

    Favorite thing with leftover vegetables? Use them with beef or chicken stock in a soup or stew. Super simple.

  8. My writer friend Joan made one of these for the rest of us on a writer’s retreat earlier this year. I love the idea of making something healthy, beautiful, and tasty from leftovers in the fridge. I’ve had my own versions of this because I almost never throw out food and have learned various ways to use up veggies. Love the step-by-step directions. And the name: frittata. Elegance out of necessity is doubly elegant, don’t you think?

    1. I do think, although I’ve never expressed it that way. I’m thinking of embroidering it on one of those little pillows you find in specialty shops: Elegance out of necessity is doubly elegant! 🙂

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