We all have back-up recipes. Something we can fling together when there’s not much time or inspiration or available produce. There are days when I have no mental space left for anything new, and going out or even takeaway is too much bother.
This is one of the dishes I turn to most commonly, and it always goes down well. I can go from starting to on the table in under 30 minutes and it relies almost completely on odds and ends in the fridge. The best thing is it never looks like it. And it’s quite healthy, but if you don’t tell anyone, they won’t realise.
There are a couple of basics, but not many: onion, eggs, cheese. The rest is vegetables and herbs and it can vary quite a bit. I used a little bacon in this one, but it’s certainly not essential for a good-tasting dish.
There are endless possibilities and they’re all worth trying. With slightly different approaches/ingredients it can easily become a Spanish tortilla or a savoury loaf (see some suggestions below).
Below is what I did for a small cast iron skillet, intended for 2. You could also put the whole mix in a loaf tin and bake it in the oven.
Zucchini and bacon frittata
Two slices of bacon, chopped. If it’s fatty bacon I wouldn’t do much more than spray the skillet and let the fat render out, but if it’s very lean add a little olive or avocado oil. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add onion of some kind – I have made do with yellow or red, finely sliced leek, shallots or spring onions. Chop finely and cook gently (not the spring onion though, add it later if you’re using that). Roughly equivalent of half a medium or one small onion.
Add about half a chopped sweet pepper (I used yellow in this case, but any is OK). Cook until the onion is soft.
Put four large eggs in a bowl and beat well. Season with salt and pepper.
Add a grated zucchini and a grated carrot (zucchini on its own is also good). I also add in a handful of chopped fresh herbs – any of basil, oregano, thyme, chives, tarragon, parsley or a combination of them is good. The spring onion would go in at this stage as well.
Pour into the skillet on top of the onion mix. Stir it around a little to make sure it’s all mixed well.
Top with cheese: I used slices of cheddar and parmesan – but you can use whatever you like, and you could also grate the cheese first (which makes for a more even finish).
Let it cook on the stove top for a few minutes on a medium heat until you can see the sides cooking.
Place under a hot grill for 5-10 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
If you don’t have a grill, skip some of the stove-top cooking and put the whole thing in a hot oven until it’s lovely and golden. This might take 20.
You could also put the whole thing in a baking tin and serve it as a loaf.
Serve with salad.
You could also add sliced mushrooms, small florets of broccoli, cherry tomatoes. I’ve added cubes of leftover roast lamb, chicken or sliced sausage. Sometimes I’ll grate some cheese into the egg mix as well, usually parmesan.
If you want to take it into Spanish tortilla territory, you could add some cubes of cooked potato or even leftover pasta, some sweetcorn or chorizo.
A little finely-chopped chili can give a good kick, and garlic is always possible.
You could certainly make the top prettier than I did in this case, but I wasn’t in a mood to be too fussed. Which was kinda the point.
Verdict: a real favourite.