Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greek Style Frittata with Lamb Shawarma Crumbles and Fire Roasted Tomato Ketchup

A month or more ago I started crafting a menu for a Springtime brunch I haven't yet had time to realize (and clearly won't, this year, as spring is over). On the brunch menu I'd planned the protein as an egg scramble (where the fire roasted tomatoes would be part of the scramble instead of pureed as a ketchup and to be accompanied by roasted spiced red potatoes and a sweet rice pudding with pistachios and rosewater), but while I was visiting my family in New York I was persuaded by my good friend to try this recipe as both a quiche and a frittata. In my opinion it worked best as the latter dish, and in fact this recipe turned out the most perfect looking frittata I've ever made, so that's how I've decided to present it, even though I've recently shared a frittata recipe. Instead of being served alongisde, the potatoes now form a crust at the bottom and lovely rendered lamb fat from the crumbles mixes well with the eggs and light cream in the filling and makes for a smooth consistency. The shawarma spices in the fat served to unify the dish. Oh, and the cayenne spiced fire roasted tomato ketchup with smoked paprika and fresh greek oregano wasn't bad, either. You'll need a grill to fire roast your tomatoes and if you have one pop the tomatoes on after a good dinner to prep the next day's breakfast; trust me, this is best done ahead of time and a good way to take advantage of the hot coals after a good barbeque.

Fire Roasted Tomato Ketchup

Makes roughly 1 cup

6 medium vine ripe tomatoes, halved, de-spined and de-seeded
>1 Teasp Olive Oil
1/2 Teasp. Smoked Paprika (the kind that's sweet, not spicy)
1/4 Teasp. cayenne
1 Teasp. honey
1 1/2 Tblsp apple cider vinegar
4 sprigs' worth of fresh greek oregano leaves, minced (after you've washed them, pass through gently pinched fingers to strip leaves)
Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1. Brush tomatoes all over with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Roast tomatoes on gril until the outside is the slightest bit charred and the tomatoes get soft. Remove from heat and slide skins off.
3. Puree the tomatoes, then add the spices, honey and vinegar.
4. Cool, then cover and allow flavors to marry in refrigerator at least one hour and up to overnight. Serve with Greek Style Frittata, or another Greek themed egg dish.

Greek Style Frittata with Lamb Shawarma Crumbles and Feta

5 Large baby red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced about 1/8" thick with a mandoline
8 Oz. marinated artichoke hearts*, chopped coarsely
8 Oz. fresh baby spinach, washed
2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 lb. ground organic lamb with a decent fat ratio
4 cloves completely crushed
1/4 Teasp cinnamon
1/8 Teasp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 Teasp cayenne
4 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled (or more, to taste) - the best feta you can find
1/2 Tblsp butter
8 cage free, organic eggs
1/4 cup organic, hormone free half n half
salt, to taste
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease frittata baking dish and lay a crust of potatoes across the bottom of the dish (like a cheesecake crust), 4 or more layers of potatoes deep. When you can't see the bottom of the baking dish anymore add one full layer of potato slices over that. Put into oven as soon as it reaches the proper temperature. It should be cooked enough to add the frittata filling
2. In a pan over medium heat, melt butter and add 1/2 Tblsp olive oil. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper to butter and cook for 5 minutes to infuse butter with spices. Add lamb and break up into small crumbles. Cook until browned. Pour into a bowl to cool, making sure to include every drop of fat from the pan (trust me!)
3. Using a little olive oil and a small sprinkling of garlic at a time, sautee the spinach over medium heat in small batches** until all of it is cooked. Set aside to cool.
4. Beat eggs with a little salt and fresh pepper and mix in half and half. Add crumbled feta and chopped artichoke hearts. When they've cooled, add lamb crumbles and spinach. Mix to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
5. When the potato crust is starting to be tender when pierced with a fork, remove from oven and add filling.
6. Return frittata to oven and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until eggs are just cooked through. Serve with fire roasted Greek style ketchup.

*I tried the recipe with fresh, fire roasted artichokes, and the version with marinated artichoke hearts was far superior.

**Sauteeing the spinach in small batches will help keep the spinach from leaking too much water, meaning they're not only more tender and fresh-tasting, they also don't add nearly as much of that yucky green spinach water to your dish. Tip courtesy of my absolutely amazing co-chef, Szelin, who is too modest about her cooking abilities, and without whom I could never have pulled off not only the quiche and frittata, but the ketchup as well! ^_^