When I was a little girl, my family would frequently eat out at a restaurant called The Spaghetti Company. One of my favorite things there was the fried zucchini – huge logs of the green vegetable, cut into thick bars lengthwise, dipped in breadcrumbs and fried. They were always crisp on the outside and soft in the middle and oh-so-perfect in every way.
I was fiddling around in the kitchen one morning and rediscovered this childhood favorite in a new way – with eggs. As a vegetarian, I eat a lot of them and am always playing with different methods of cooking – I particularly like frittatas and they are quick and simple and extremely versatile.
Since this is a Market to Table recipe, the vast majority of the ingredients used here purchased from vendors and farmers local to me in Northeast Ohio. Some of them are the same as previous Market to Table recipes, but a few are new and I’d like to highlight them a bit as I’m so happy to be able to buy such wonderful food from those in my community. Most of these items were purchased at the Shaker Square Market, although a few are from the Chagrin Falls Market and a few other local vendors.
Most of the vegetables used in this recipe are from Morningside Farm, which is one of my favorite stands at the Shaker Market. Their veggies are always of the best quality (and beautiful to boot!). I buy from them weekly and can never resist the little heirloom eggplants or purple bell peppers. The zucchini, summer squash, chili peppers, cherry tomatoes and basil used in this recipe were purchased from them.
The garlic used here is from Rittman Orchards, a farm I’ve written about before. They are famous for their fantastic fruit, which is worthy of the long lines every Saturday at the market. They also grow vegetables and I particularly love their garlic – while I was chopping some last night for dinner, a friend actually commented on how she had never seen such large cloves or garlic before. This is a case where difference between the market and the supermarket are very apparent. The quality of what you can get from your local farmers is unsurpassed.
I am very embarrassed to say that I do not know the name of the farm from which I bought the eggs. I was in a hurry that morning and didn’t check – I was just mesmerized by the beautiful cream, tan and light blue eggs in the carton and hurried away after paying. Next time I go to the market I will find out and update this post with that information as I have not found prettier eggs anywhere.
I am very pleased with the cheese used in this recipe. It is from Yellow House Cheese, and it’s a sheep’s milk cheese in the style of pecorino romano. It can be difficult to find locally produced hard cheeses and Yellow House always delivers. It works really well anywhere you want something salty and sharp. Yellow House always has an abundance of wonderful varieties and I’m sure you could play around and find a few that you would love. Don’t be afraid of sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses – they are lovely and add a lot to your dish.
Finally, the bread in this recipe (both for the crumbs and slicing) is from my favorite Cleveland bakery: On the Rise. There is no better European style bread in the area. It is also one of my favorite places to go for a chocolate croissant and a cold brew coffee during the summer. My father can’t resist their Jennifer cookies and my boss is addicted to their cinnamon raisin bread. Everyone has at least one to fifteen favorites here and I highly suggest you check them out if you haven’t already. They are opening a second location soon as well, so that will double the bread-love.
I hope next time the mood strikes for breakfast for dinner you’ll use your own haul of farmer’s market beauties to cook something up. I hate to say it, but summer is almost over – so get out to those markets while you can, meet your farmers and eat very well.
Zucchini Fritte Frittata
- Feel free to switch up the veggies in this dish – onions and eggplant are also very nice and broccolini would work quite well too. A frittata is a great blank canvas – do what makes you happy.
- The chili peppers I used were quite spicy – if you want to tame the heat, be sure to omit or use less. Also feel free to use more if you like a lot of spice. Crushed pepper flakes could also be used. Also, you may want to use gloves when chopping the chili pepper.
- Although I recommend using fresh breadcrumbs for texture, you can definitely use dried breadcrumbs here too.
- I highly recommend using a non-stick pan here. If you don’t have one or don’t like using them, please add additional oil before adding the eggs so that they don’t stick. It should slide out of the pan when done.
- You can add a bit of cream or milk (about 1 T. per two eggs) if you would like – it gets the eggs a bit fluffier.
- To make fresh bread crumbs, simply process a thin slice of bread in a food processor or chop finely with a knife.
1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, separated
1-2 small (5 inch) zucchini and/or summer squash
1 hot chili pepper (such as Jimmy Nardello or similar Italian hot pepper), seeded and deveined
2 T. fresh bread crumbs
2-3 T. grated hard cheese (such as parmesan or pecorino)
4 basil leaves, shredded
Salt & Pepper
To serve: 1-2 slices bread (best quality, toasted and then rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil), a few halved cherry tomatoes, salted
- Prep vegetables: finely chop 1 1/2 cloves garlic (reserve other half for rubbing on bread), quarter zucchini and/or squash and slice thinly crosswise, and finely chop chili pepper.
- Heat olive oil (start with 1 T., use the other if needed) in an 8 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic, zucchini and/or squash and chili pepper and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook vegetables for approximately 10 minutes, or until they soften completely and zucchini begins to brown quite a bit. Evenly space the vegetables in the skillet.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs vigorously until fully incorporated. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the eggs to the pan, swirling the pan to distribute the egg evenly.
- Allow the eggs to cook for 5-10 minutes, until they are just set on top. To help this along, every few minutes I run a heat-proof spatula around the edges of the pan while tilting the pan to allow some of the uncooked egg to touch the edges and cook faster.
- Turn off the heat. Top with fresh breadcrumbs, cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, if desired.
- Slide the frittata onto a plate (a spatula will help with this). Serve with really good bread that you’ve toasted and rubbed with the reserved half garlic clove and drizzled with some olive oil (make sure you do this after toasting, no fires). Dig in!
Serves one, but can easily be doubled in a larger skillet.