Days have been busy and the summer heat is not letting up. I console myself with the hypnotic, almost unbearably sweet smell of summer fruits ripening in my fruit bowl, mangoes and pineapple. The fruit bowl I put square in the middle of my dining room table, serving as both a receptacle for sustenance and colorful decoration, making me feel smugly thrifty.
I do like to think that I am a thrifty person. I know how to indulge, that much is certain. I have certainly parted with hard earned pennies for things I view as pleasures. Maybe it’s because I feel strongly that each of us deserves a treat every now a then (or more). If we won’t treat ourselves, who else will right? So yes, I do indulge and have nothing against spending what I can on things I believe will bring me joy (without breaking the bank of course).
I suppose what I really consider my thrifty side is the side that can’t abide by waste, especially food waste. I’ve spoken about it before and perhaps you’ve noticed that every once in a while I’ve posted about ways to avoid food waste or dishes made with leftovers or other odds and ends. I always get a sense of girl-scouty satisfaction every time I am able to use something that might have otherwise ended up in the waste bin.
This is a dish that does that.
Frittata with Fried Bread and Cheese
(Adapted from Ilva of Lucullian Delights)
- Olive oil
- 1-2 slices day-old bread, torn or chopped into chunky cubes
- 3-4 tablespoons cooked peas
- 4 eggs, whisked
- 3-4 tablespoons grated cheese
- Heat a good swirl of olive oil in an 8-inch skillet. When the oil is hot, add the bread cubes and toast, turning once or twice, until all sides are deeply golden and toasted. Remove from pan and set aside.
- If the pan is dry, as the bread tends to sip up all the oil, add another generous swirl of olive oil. Add the peas and toss once or twice, just to warm them up. Add the bread back and try to distribute the peas and bread evenly around the pan without making too big a deal of it. Pour in the eggs and cook over low heat until almost everything is set. I sometimes cover the pan towards the end just to speed this process up.
- When the eggs are almost set, through still wet in the middle, sprinkle the cheese over the top and transfer the pan underneath a pre-heated grill and grill until the cheese is melted. This happens very fast so do not leave your grill!
- Serve warm, although I’ve had this at room temperature to no ill effects.
How much bread you use will depend on the size of your slices. You could use only one, or may need two. What I do is place my bread cubes into my skillet (an 8-inch skillet is just right for this frittata) and judge from there if I need to add more. I like the bread to be evenly distributed throughout the pan without filling it up entirely.
This will make a lovely breakfast or brunch (or lunch) for two. I had this with little C and we had enough leftover for a midafternoon snack for me.
I love so many things about this simple frittata. Firstly, it is a fantastic way to make use of old bread! I mention day-old bread in the recipe but truthfully I have never made this with bread only a day old. I will go out on a limb here and confess that I often use bread that is already scratching-the-limits-of-decency old. Old bread has the heft and structure that lends itself perfectly to toasting in olive oil and then cooking in runny eggs…softening just enough without ever getting soggy. I have a bag of bread past its prime in the fridge especially for dishes like this (or for French toast…or bread crumbs).
This frittata is also a great way to make use of other leftovers. Here I’ve used some leftover peas, and some grated cheese from another recipe that needed using up. You can add whatever leftovers you have in sitting your fridge though that pairs well with egg (and that means a lot) – ham, bacon, potatoes, tuna, most vegetables, or herbs. I imagine this would also be excellent with some sautéed onions mixed through, and then topped with Gruyere. You can use any cheese you have on hand.
Also, it makes for a nice light meal…so if you have any leftover chocolate cake lounging around somewhere you can feel fully justified in polishing that off and further cleaning your fridge out. Lastly, it’s delicious!
If you have any good ideas for old bread, or for leftovers in general, do share. Meanwhile, let’s continue the battle against food waste!
Have a great and sunny weekend folks! If it’s not summer where you are, send a cool breeze my way? ;)