Friday, February 27, 2015

Frittata alla Piemontese

     A Nice Italian Frittata With Ingredients Representative Od Piedmont!
     Gorgonzola is a famous cheese that is made in the Piedmont region.  Gorgonzola is considered to be the grandfather of all bleu cheese.  Penicillium roqueforti is what give bleu cheese its unique flavor.  There are a few varieties of Penicillium roqueforti, but the original source of this classic fungus has been determined to be near ancient Rome.  Gorgonzola is the first cave aged bleu cheese that reached notoriety.
     Catholic Monks brought their cheese making expertise throughout Europe during the age of the Roman Empire.  Strains of the original Roman Penicillium roqueforti were used by monks to create many classic bleu cheese varieties, like French Roquefort and Fromage St. Agur.  Many of the classic French bleu cheese are variations of the original Gorgonzola recipe.  Gorgonzola is definitely a groundbreaking historic cheese!
     Gorgonzola Cheese is remarkably good tasting with eggs.  Gorgonzola is creamy tasting when it melts and the sharp flavor lingers on.  For a frittata, a little bit of Gorgonzola goes a long way.
     When cooking Italian food, I try to use traditional ingredients in my recipes.  White Truffles are the mushroom that is associated with Piedmont, Italy.
     I made today's frittata in Chicago and white truffle mushrooms were not stocked at any food markets.  The flavor of shaved white truffle is best or this recipe, if you can find any for sale.
     Substituting a mushroom that is easier to get is okay to do, especially when no truffles are available.  In a restaurant, the menu price would have to be adjusted accordingly.  Suitable substitutes are white cave mushrooms, porcini or portobello.

     Spinach, Asparagus and Mushroom Preparation:
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 large cave mushroom or portobello that is thin sliced.
     Add 6 thin asparagus spears.  (Peel the spears only if the skin is tough.)
     Lightly sauté the sliced mushroom and asparagus spears, till the asparagus become al dente.
     Place the asparagus and mushrooms on a platter and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Place the sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add butter to the pan if there is not enough to sauté the spinach.
     Add 1/2 clove of minced garlic.
     Saute till the garlic starts to turn a golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 2 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves.
     Sauté and stir, till the spinach wilts.
     Set the wilted spinach aside with the other vegetables and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Frittata alla Piemontese
     This recipe yields 1 frittata.  
     A frittata made with 2 large eggs is petite.  For a heartier frittata 3 large eggs is the ticket!
     Italian frittatas are nearly always composed.  Composed means arranging the ingredients to create nice eye appeal.
     If white truffles are used to make this frittata, the wait till the frittata is being assembled, then shave the truffle over the eggs, before the Gorgonzola is sprinkled on the eggs.  For regular mushrooms, just sauté them with the other vegetables.
     Step 1:  Place 3 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 4 chopped fresh basil leaves.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Ass 1/2 teaspoon of pomace olive oil.
     Add the egg mixture.
     Use a spatula to even the edges of the frittata.
     After the bottom half of the frittata is cooked firm, remove the pan from the heat.  The top half of the frittata should be runny eggs.
     Step 3:  Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of grated mozzarella cheese on the uncooked eggs on top of the frittata.
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of crumbled gorgonzola cheese on the frittata.
     Arrange the asparagus spears and mushroom slices on top of the frittata so they look nice.  (Trim the length of the spears if necessary.)
     Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of fine plain Italian bread crumbs over the frittata.
     Step 4:  Place the sauté pan and frittata in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the cheese melts and till the eggs are fully cooked.  (Do not brown the gorgonzola cheese or it will taste bitter!)
     Step 5:  Slide the frittata onto a plate.
     Place the wilted garlic spinach on the center of the frittata.
     No garnish is necessary!
     This is one of my favorite frittatas!

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