The Heart of New England
Asparagus Frittata
By Charlie Burke

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We all know that in France eggs are used to make great omelettes, but in Spain
and Italy eggs are used in the same way to make tortillas and frittatas, their
versions of the French omelettes.  These are true peasant foods. Tortillas in
Spain, made with potatoes, onions and eggs, are served in every tapas bar at
room temperature, while
frittatas in Italy are served as antipasti, and as lunch
and dinner. They can also be used in small slices as appetizers or as main
courses.

We expect food to be served hot, but in Southern Europe dishes such as these
and other vegetables are often served at room temperature, permitting their
rich flavors to shine. This recipe celebrates fresh spring asparagus, cooked as
Italian farmers’ wives would cook it, and is an easy way to serve this great
spring gift.

Use this recipe for
asparagus fritattas as a master recipe with whichever
vegetable is at its peak flavor. In Italy, pancetta is used to provide flavor, but I
prefer to buy Prosciutto di Parma which has less fat and can be bought in
slices to be chopped for inclusion in recipes. However you use this recipe, use
fresh local eggs, and be certain that no animal protein is used in the chicken
feed. In New Hampshire,
Pete & Gerry’s Eggs are Organic and Free Range, and
there is no doubt they are vastly superior to super market eggs, as are local
farm-raised eggs.

Four servings:

6 large eggs
½ pound
fresh asparagus, cut into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup Prosciutto de Parma, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add
asparagus, prosciutto and shallots when oil is hot. Cook until asparagus is
nearly tender; remove from heat. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Mix eggs with a fork in a bowl until just mixed. Add asparagus mix, Parmesan
cheese and parsley to egg mix. Add salt and pepper.

In a non stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until oil is
hot. Pour egg mixture into sauté pan. Cook, lifting edges to let liquid egg
mixture to leak under edges. Continue cooking until top is nearly done, then
place into oven until top is done.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a salad and dry white wine and
experience the great taste of European peasant food!

About the author: Charlie Burke, an organic farmer and avid cook, 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, he grows certified organic herbs, greens and
berries at Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.
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Asparagus Frittata
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