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Frittata with Fresh Garlic Scapes
and Thyme
By Charlie Burke

Click here for printer friendly version of this recipe

We are nearing the end of a stretch of hot, humid weather, days when cooking
dinner can seem like a real chore. Yesterday was such a day, and an inventory
of the refrigerator yielded slim pickings. Fortunately, I had stopped at Weeks
Farm in Belmont and had a dozen farm fresh eggs, and our garlic scapes had
emerged recently. Garlic scapes are the flower stalks, and each variety of garlic
has a distinctive shape, ours coiling as they sway in the wind over the tops of
the plants. When young, they are tender and have a milder flavor than the
bulbs which will be pulled in a month or so.

Garlic and eggs have an affinity for each other, as was demonstrated last week
by talented Chef, Ben Hasty, at a Growers Dinner at the
Dunaway Restaurant   
in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he served a perfectly poached local
fresh eggs on wilted greens topped with some of our scapes which he had
sautéed, so I decided to continue the theme with a frittata flavored with scapes.

Frittatas, rustic preparations of eggs and various vegetables cooked in olive oil
or butter served in Italy both at home and in fine restaurants, are similar to the
tortillas of Spain, although the latter always contain potatoes. That they can be
prepared in minutes, have great flavor and can be served hot, cold or at room
temperature make them ideal for warm weather cooking and entertaining.
They make a great base for seasonal vegetables, and I’ve made them with
asparagus, Swiss chard, tomatoes and basil, and other suitable combinations.
Parmesan cheese and prosciutto or pancetta continue the Italian theme, but
local smokehouse bacon is an especially good addition, as well.

Four servings:

6 large fresh eggs
½ cup garlic scapes, chopped into 1/3 inch pieces (or ¼ cup chopped garlic)
Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Lightly beat the eggs and add salt and pepper.  

Heat a 10 inch nonstick or well seasoned sauté pan over medium heat and add
the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the scapes and thyme and sauté until
the scapes begin to soften (2 – 3 minutes).        

Pour the egg mixture into the pan, giving it a shake to evenly distribute the
eggs. Cook over low to medium heat until the top has just set. Slide a spatula
around the edges to loosen the frittata, place a plate over the pan and invert the
pan. Slide the frittata back into the pan and cook until the underside is barely
colored. Frittatas should be lightly colored on the surface and moist on the
inside.

This is a fine recipe to introduce your family to an authentic Italian lunch or
light dinner, and it is an ideal preparation for cooking in season, changing
ingredients as crops appear at farm stands and farmers markets. Europeans eat
many foods at room temperature, and frittatas and tortillas are commonly
placed in covered glass containers in restaurants, just as pies and cakes appear
on the counters of New England diners and family restaurants, so try serving
this at room temperature. Cooked early while the kitchen is still cool and
served with a salad fresh from the garden, it is the perfect dinner for a hot
summer night.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at
Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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Frittata with Fresh Garlic Scapes and Thyme, Photo by Charlie Burke
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