Egg dishes are, in my opinion, the unsung hero of weeknight suppers. They are inexpensive, easy, and incredibly versatile. Although they do contain cholesterol, eggs are a great source of protein, essential fatty acids, and lutein, an antioxidant. High blood cholesterol is a health risk, as it can increase one’s risk for developing plaques, or buildup inside of artery walls. In moderation, however, dietary cholesterol is necessary for proper cell function and synthesis of vitamin D. If you have high cholesterol or are watching your intake, substitute some whole eggs with egg whites in dishes you prepare. Removing the yolk will practically eliminate the cholesterol content, but still provide protein. For the texture and flavor of this recipe, however, it is best to use some whole eggs – remember that you aren’t eating the whole thing either!
This week I wanted to pay homage to the incredible, edible egg as well as the veggie that often marks the beginning of the ample growing season: asparagus. Short-lived, asparagus season lasts only a few weeks. Anyone who is familiar with asparagus farming or has read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (to those who haven’t, I highly recommend it) may be aware that the asparagus we buy from all over the world while it is not the local growing season, is subpar to the its potential. Asparagus typically grows in late spring (for us with four seasons, it starts in late April or May), and is natural source of a whole bunch of nutrients, which include – but are not limited to – vitamins A, C, K, folic acid, potassium, and antioxidant and anticarcinogen glutathione.
This asparagus frittata – basically, an open-faced omelette – recipe is a delicious reminder that summer veggies are just around the corner! To recycle this recipe, feel free to incorporate whatever you have on hand. Frittatas and omelettes are a resourceful way to use up leftover vegetables, chicken, and whatever else you might have from last night’s dinner. Because egg dishes can be pretty dense, I like to serve them with a lighter side, such as a salad or fruit.
Caramelized Onion and Asparagus Frittata
Makes 6 servings
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
½ tsp honey
10-12 spears asparagus, roasted and cut into 1 inch pieces (see below)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tbsp dried oregano
6-8 eggs (to lighten up this recipe, substitute 3 egg whites per whole egg for up to 4 whole eggs)
2 ounces soft goat cheese (~4 tablespoons)
Asparagus: I usually like to repurpose leftover roasted or sautéed vegetables in breakfast dishes. The asparagus in this recipe was roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper for 15 minutes at 300°F on a lined cookie sheet and cooled.
Caramelized onions: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium temperature. Add onions and stir until softened. Stir in honey and cook, moving frequently, until they are golden brown and caramelized. This process can take up to 15-20 minutes – if you are pressed for time, you can sauté them until they are translucent, but I promise you that caramelized onions are 100% worth the wait! Traditionally this process would include butter, but I wanted to lighten the recipe up a bit. If you are a purist, feel free to use a small pat of butter to caramelize the onions.)
Frittata: Preheat oven to 400°F. In an oven-safe, 10-12 inch frying pan (I like cast iron, but some non-stick and stainless frying pans are safe), heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil to medium. Add onions and asparagus, spreading evenly in the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Whisk eggs in a medium mixing bowl and add to frying pan. Cook over medium heat until edges are set, about 2 minutes. Place pan in the oven and cook for 8 minutes. Remove carefully and crumble goat cheese over the top evenly. Cook in the oven for another 2-3 minutes, or until eggs are set. The easiest way to check this is by gently slicing the center of the frittata; the eggs should not be “wet.” Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently scrape the side of the pan and flip the frittata onto a serving dish. Slice into wedges and serve with fruit for a hearty breakfast or a green salad for an easy-peasy dinner!
Happy cooking and have a delicious weekend!
Until next time, remember that… there are no excuses when it comes to your health!