Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guardian Service Frittata

Yesterday I returned to Reading Terminal Market to see what quality, sustainably-farmed foods I could find at the Fair Food Farmstand. Even off-season, the Farmstand carries a treasure trove of locally-farmed vegetables, raw milks, yogurts and cheeses and a variety of eggs from cage-free, organically-fed fowl ranging from chickens, ducks and geese to emu (which lay Fabergé-sized eggs with dark emerald-teal shells—marvels of Mother Nature's flamboyance). The Farmstand had all the seasonal ingredients I needed to make an excellent frittata.

Though I'd never cooked or eaten duck eggs, I'm a quick convert: larger and more flavorful than hens' eggs, duck eggs are also more richly nutritious (higher in protein, minerals, vitamins and complex amino acids). They're also beautiful—firm shells, large saffron-colored yolks and thick whites which set up firmly in dishes like this dense frittata.

Often a frittata is flipped to brown both sides or placed under the broiler to finish, but the Guardian Service fryer cooked this dish perfectly in 20 minutes on top of the stove, with a slightly browned bottom and a soufflé-like texture. Allow the dish to cool for 15 minutes before serving and it will lift easily out of the pan. 

Guardian Service Frittata
with Duck Eggs, Sweet Potato, Mushroom, Shallot, Bacon and Cheese


6 duck eggs, lightly beaten (Pecan Meadows Farms, Newburg, PA)
2 medium Covington Sweet Potatoes, thinly sliced (Mast Farm, Morgantown, PA)
3 Yellow Dutch shallots, sliced (Tuscarora Organic Growers, Hustontown, PA)
8 oz. Crimini mushrooms, sliced (Mother Earth Mushrooms, Kennett Square, PA)
4-6 strips bacon, fried and crumbled into bits (Niman Ranch)
1/4 lb. "Maidenhead" cheese (or other semi-soft cheese), diced (Cherry Grove Farm, Lawrenceville, NJ)
1 Tbsp. butter, olive oil or bacon fat (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper, freshly ground

  1. In the large Guardian Service Fryer, fry the bacon over medium low heat until just crisp enough crumble into bits and remove to dish to cool. 
  2. In the rendered bacon fat, sauté sweet potato slices 4-5 minutes per side until wilted, covering the pan between, then remove to dish. 
  3. Add an additional Tbsp. of fat or oil to the pan and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add mushrooms and continue to sauté, covered, for another 5 minutes.
  4. Return the sweet potato slices to the pan, distributing evenly with the sautéed mushroom and shallot mixture.
  5. Beat eggs with salt and pepper and pour over the potato, onion, mushroom mix. Sprinkle the diced cheese and bacon bits over the top.
  6. Cover fryer and cook over medium low heat for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and the eggs have set at the center.
Optional: finish under a broiler for a few minutes until browned or use a metal lid to employ the "stove top" browning method.
Allow the frittata to cool for at least 15 minutes or up to several hours. Invert or slide frittata onto a serving plate and cut into wedges or serve directly from the Guardian Service pan.