Recipes from Quarantine--Pancetta and Gruyere Frittata
Recipes from the Quarantine Files
You know those memes about finding recipes online and having to wade through a million stories and musings just to GET TO THE RECIPE ALREADY? Well, I feel you. Here is the bare bones recipe if that’s all you’re here for. If you want my musings and methodology, you can read on.
12 eggs from Smith Heritage Farms. If you use other eggs and the frittata is gross, that’s on you.
8 oz pancetta
5.3 oz of gruyere cheese (we’ll discuss this very specific amount below)
2 shallots, sliced
Some spinach, kale or other greens
¼ cup half and half or full fat coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Bake at 400 in a deep dish pie plate for 30-40 minutes.
I found myself at Publix yesterday. It was my first time going anywhere other than my house or work in many days. I don’t know how many days, because what day is it? For that matter, what time is it, and who are you anyway?
Anyway, I’m at Publix and I haven’t been anywhere in a while, so I’m already discombobulated because there are lots of people wearing gloves and masks (and shorts! Because apparently summer also happened). I mean, I’m also wearing gloves and carrying a Clorox wipe which feels super odd, but to see so many other people doing the same thing was jarring. Like one more confirmation that THIS.IS.SERIOUS. Then a car drives by me and the person driving is wearing a FULL ON RESPIRATOR whilst in their own car, and I’m really trying to figure out if I now live in the Twilight Zone.
So as I go inside to get things, I experience what most people are experiencing as they go into grocery stores. I think, I’d better make this trip count, by God, because we are practicing social distancing, and we can’t just run back if we forgot anything. So I’m standing there thinking about what’s in our freezer and what is something that might feel “special” to break the monotony of…..life these days, and for some reason I remember the frittata I made on Christmas morning.
And while the toilet paper aisle might be empty and the rice is sold out, but there is pancetta and gruyere to be had, my lovelies.
Now I do realize that people are having trouble finding eggs. But The Joyful Food Co. is stocked up on Smith Heritage Farms Eggs, and those just so happen to be the best eggs, so if you’re local, we’ve got your back as far as eggs go.
While this recipe is gluten-free, it isn’t dairy-free. It also isn’t low-fat or guilt free, but it is delicious and it is probably something you’d only make occasionally. Like on Christmas morning or during a quarantine for a global pandemic.
Let’s get started. Get a deep dish pie plate and grease the inside with butter or ghee. You’re gonna start by slicing your shallots. If there is a proper way to do this, I can’t teach you, because I don’t know. I just treat them like cylindrical onions, and it works ok. You can buy diced pancetta, which would be optimal for this recipe, but all the diced pancetta I’ve found has nitrates and nitrites in it, and those don’t work for me. Boar’s Head has a kind that is uncured and it comes in thin slices like prosciutto. I get that kind and just chop it up.
Chop up your shallots and pancetta and sauté them in a pan. You don’t really need to add oil, because the pancetta will release some grease. Cook that until the shallots are nice and soft.
Drain as much grease from it as you can and put all of that into the bottom of the pie plate. Sprinkle some spinach or kale on top. I always have some random greens in my fridge for smoothie making and this week, it happened to be spinach. I don’t know how much. Whatever looks right. Are there even rules anymore?
Then you’re gonna grate the gruyere cheese. It is a stinky cheese, so be warned. Smells like feet, but tastes like heaven. Why 5.3 oz of cheese, Elizabeth?, you may ask. That is a very specific amount. Well, friends, there was a block of gruyere cheese at the Publix and it looked about right, and it just so happened to be 5.3 oz. Since I used it all, and the frittata was good, it became a thing. If baking is a science then cooking is experimental art.
Oh my word, my cheese had a coupon on it, and I didn’t even notice. I could’ve saved $1 on cheese and I missed my shot.
You’re gonna crack those 12 eggs, add ¼ cup of half and half or coconut milk. If you don’t have those, it doesn’t really matter, just leave it out. Add some salt and pepper and dump the grated cheese in, and whisk it up. Pour that mixture over the other stuff in the pie pan.
Pop it in your preheated oven. Here’s where I always mess up when I’m trying to share a recipe. I don’t time anything—I’m a total mess. I’m just like, cook it til it’s done, but I’ve realized as I’ve tried to train people to work in my kitchen that they do not like that attitude. I’m so specific about everything and then I just wave my hand vaguely on baking times. I have learned that people want an exact time or at least a range. People are so high maintenance. So for your benefit, I took a picture of the clock when I put the frittata in, and I took a picture of the clock when I took it out. So I can confidently give you a range of 30-40ish minutes. There. Are you happy?
We had ours for dinner, and I served it with asparagus, because that’s what I had, and it was good. My youngest son hates asparagus and opted to have kimchi with his, so clearly it’s a versatile frittata that pairs well with many things.
I hope this provides a nice break from your regularly scheduled quarantine meals of rice and toilet paper.