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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Asparagus Frittata #FoodieReads

This was inspired by reading Escape to the Rome Apartment by Kerry Fisher. It's the third book in the series. I previously shared Roasted Watermelon-Fennel Gelato after reading the first installment. I may not have done a recipe after reading the second. I will have to remedy that soon.



On the Page

In this book Sara's best friend Lainey has died and left her money and instructions that Sara is to use the money on a trip to Italy to spread the ashes. The girls had gone on a trip through Italy in their younger years and Lainey is offering her a chance to revisit the country. Plus it gets Sara away from her soon to be ex-husband from whom she is legally separated, but still living with, and her grown kids who haven't quite cut those apron strings.


Sara quits her job, books her ticket, and leaves her family, telling them her return date is undetermined. Off she goes.


On the airplane she meets a free-spirit who invites her to stay with a friend in Florence. And so her Italian adventure begins. She eventually ends up in the Rome apartment. Ronnie (Veronica) is a 75-year-old British woman who has lived in Rome for four decades. She is widowed, by an Italian husband, and shares her palazzo with her best friend, Marina. They rent out one of the vacant apartments, with a mission of helping a female tenant who would like the challenge of reinventing herself.


I will admit that this seems very formulaic from one book to the next and these characters didn't appeal to me as much as the ones in the previous books. Sara annoyed me and her eventual love interest, Carlo, didn't ring true. But it was a quick read and, admittedly, I will read almost anything set in Italy.


As with almost any book set in Italy there is always the food. And it always makes my mouth water.


"As enormous bistecca alla Fiorentina arrived, slabs of rare steak on wooden boards garnished only by quarters of lemon, a sprinkling of rocket and a sprig of rosemary, I wondered how easy it was to be a vegetarian in Italy. Trays of garlicky roast potatoes were passed up and down the table, along with carafes of Chianti."


"Carlo found three seats together and undid the wicker picnic basket he’d been carrying, like something out of Little Red Riding Hood. Not for us crisps, peanuts and sausage rolls. This was a feast gourmet-Italian style, with focaccia studded with rosemary and garlic, finocchiona – a type of salami with fennel seeds – fat olives, and a salty pecorino cheese. He produced a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino, which even I recognised as a premium wine that I’d seen at the top end of wine lists in fancy restaurants. 'I’ve been waiting for a good occasion to drink this'."


"Dishes of panzanella, platters of seafood and glorious bowls of the greenest rocket with salty parmesan were passed along. The colours popped with freshness; the scents of garlic and thyme swirled around."


On the Plate

But what sent me into the kitchen was Ronnie's asparagus frittata.


"Ronnie seemed to magic up a fabulous lunch from nowhere. Her panzanella salad firmly established in my mind that capers weren’t odd things that sat in the cupboard for ten years before getting tossed out but essential ingredients in the first and best tomato and stale bread combo I’d ever eaten."


The asparagus frittata she knocked up risked making me look greedy.

As it's asparagus season, I was inspired. I also had some fresh eggs from friends with hens.


Ingredients

serves 4 or 2 with leftovers for lunch the next day

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths

  • 8 large eggs

  • 2 Tablespoons milk or half-and-half

  • 1 Tablespoon (3 teaspoons) snipped chives and more for garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • fresh mozzarella


Procedure

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in an oven-proof skillet. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, but starting to char in spots, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Move the asparagus to a bowl and wipe out the pan.


In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk or half-and-half. Add 1 teaspoon of the chives, salt, and generous grinds of black pepper. Whisk to combine. Stir in the asparagus.


In the same pan that you wiped out earlier, heat the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook until the edges begin to firm. With a spatula, lift up an edge, tip the pan, and let the uncooked egg run underneath. Do this all the way around the pan until there is no eggy liquid remaining. Once the egg is almost cooked, preheat the broiler. Place the fresh mozzarella rounds around the pan.


Place the pan in the oven and broil, with the oven door ajar, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown and bubble, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Remove frittata from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of chives. Serve immediately.


I added this post to the May #FoodieReads link-up.

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3 Comments


Margaret Wuestenenk
Margaret Wuestenenk
6 days ago

I love reading books set in Italy! Or France! Or Greece!

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Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
May 02

I think I read the first of this series and had fun with it but haven't continued. That frittata is making my stomach grumble.

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Camilla M. Mann
Camilla M. Mann
May 02
Replying to

It was so good. I can't wait to make it again.

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