Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pancetta and Goat Cheese Frittata with Caramelized Onions and Spinach

Eggs are a big part of my diet.  I happen to love them and since I try to stick to a low-carb lifestyle, they are not just a breakfast food for me.  They are packed with protein and healthy fat and can be prepared in so many ways.  One of my favorite ways is the Frittata.  It sounds fancy and looks pretty yet rustic, but in reality, it's just a flat omelet that is super easy to prepare and really hard to mess up.  All you need is an oven safe pan to start the cooking process on the stove top and transfer the whole pan to the oven to finish. You can put anything you like in a frittata, but this one has some of my favorite ingredients in it.  Pancetta is an Italian bacon that is salt cured but not smoked, like American variety is.  It has a delicate flavor and is absolutely fantastic paired with tangy and creamy goat cheese.  The caramelized onions add a wonderful sweetness and the spinach adds to our health and gives off a beautiful color.  Don't be intimidated to try this out.  The ingredients are magic together and are all cooked in the same pan, which means less to clean!  That makes me so happy and means it is a great breakfast or brunch dish to serve to a crowd or make for yourself and have yummy leftovers. 

Here is what you need:

8 large Eggs
4 oz of Pancetta - cubed or sliced
3 tbsp of Goat Cheese - crumbled
2 small or 1 large Onion - sliced
2 cups fresh Spinach Leaves or 1 box frozen - defrosted and drained
2 tbsp of Butter
1/4 tsp of Salt
1/4 tsp of Pepper

Here is what you do:
Add butter to pan and cook pancetta for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat, until crispy.  Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.  Preheat oven to broil.  Lower the heat on the pan to low and add onions, 1/8 tsp of both salt and pepper to the pan and cook for about 20 minutes,until caramelized.  Add spinach to pan and wilt.  Whisk eggs and 1/8 tsp salt and pepper each in a separate bowl.  Add egg mixture to pan and cook over low eat until the the eggs are about half way set, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the goat cheese and transfer the whole pan to oven for about 5 minutes.  Remove when cooked through and enjoy!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Serves: 6-8

First thing to do is heat your pan over medium heat.  I love using a 10 inch cast iron for this because it conducts heat so well and cooks evenly.  If you do not have a cast iron, that is OK.  Just make sure the pan you use is oven safe.  Add 2 tbsp of butter and melt, then add the pancetta.
Because butter makes everything better.
While this is cooking, slice your onions.  Stir the pancetta every couple of minutes or so until it is browned.  Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon so all the good fat is left to caramelize the onions.  

Add onions to the pan and lower the heat to low.  Add 1/8 tsp of both salt and pepper and stir every couple of minutes.  Caramelizing the onions will take about 20 minutes but it is so worth the time.  They turn so sweet and delicious and are the perfect compliment to the salty pancetta.  Preheat the oven to broil.  However, if your pan is not "broil safe" you can preheat to the degree it is safe and just up the cooking time.  It will still turn out great.
While they are caramelizing, take your spatula and rub the onions alongside the edge of your pan ever so often.  This will make sure the sides get greased so your frittata doesn't stick.

Now, whisk your eggs and 1/8 tsp of both salt and pepper.  I also add a few dashes of hot sauce, but that addition is up to you.  
 That is hot sauce!

Once the onions are a deep, golden brown, add the spinach and wilt down.  Then add the pancetta back in the pan.
 No words to describe how happy caramelized onions make me.
 Because we always need some greens.
Time for eggs.

Now, add your egg mixture and stir frequently, but not continuously.  You want to keep lifting the eggs that are cooking on the bottom to allow the raw eggs to flow under them.  This happens fast, between 3-5 minutes.  When the eggs are set on the bottom, but the top is still loose, add the 3 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese to the top.  Then, put the whole pot under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until cooked through and the top is golden brown.  
Broiler time.

Remove from oven when ready and let sit for a minute or two.  It really is virtually impossible to mess this up, aside from burning it to a crisp.  The flavors of this dish are absolutely fantastic.  

This is a wonderful breakfast dish but also works just as well for dinner.  It is a salty, creamy, tangy and sweet one-pan dish.  I mean, does it get any better?
Hope you all give this one a try!