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Courgette Frittata with goat’s cheese, lemon & mint

by Julius Roberts from The Farm Table (Ebury Press)

Photography: Elena Heatherwick


A frittata makes for an effortlessly light lunch on a warm day with much to do. The key to a good frittata is taking it out of the oven at just the right time. You want the eggs to have only just cooked through and still be wonderfully juicy and fluffy. It’s just as good cold for a picnic as it is warm, eaten on your knees in the garden with a zingy green salad. This version is brimming with slow-cooked garlicky courgettes, handfuls of fresh mint and dollops of goat’s cheese, but it’s one of those recipes that once you’ve got the hang of it you can play around with the filling depending on the season.



SERVES 4–6


Ingredients

5 tbsp olive oil

500g courgettes, sliced into rounds or halves no thicker than your little finger

3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

150g frozen peas (or 300g fresh if you have them)

1 gem lettuce, halved and finely sliced

8 eggs

1 unwaxed lemon

10g fresh mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped

100g crumbly goat’s cheese, mascarpone, ricotta or even crème fraîche



Method

Preheat your oven to 200°C fan.

Place a large frying pan on a high heat, drizzle in about 4 tablespoons of olive oil and add the courgettes. Season well with salt and fry for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. The aim is to cook the courgettes quickly but not let them take on any colour or lose their texture. Add the garlic and give the pan a good toss, then let the garlic sizzle and infuse into the oil for a few minutes, by which point the courgettes should be perfectly tender. Add the peas and toss again to coat in the oil. Once they’re sweet and cooked through, add the lettuce and stir. You only want to barely cook the lettuce, just letting it collapse into the medley.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, grate in the lemon zest, chuck in the mint and whisk together. Taste the courgette mix to make sure the seasoning is spot on, then pour into the bowl, season again now you’ve added it to the eggs, and briefly mix together. Wipe away any bits that are stuck to the pan, then place on a medium-high heat and add a dash more olive oil to prevent sticking later on. Pour in the eggs, scraping out the bowl to get every last bit, then give the pan a shimmy to make sure it’s sitting evenly. The aim here is to quickly cook and gently caramelise the bottom before it goes into the oven – think of gold, not brown. You will see the sides begin to bubble and crisp, and you can gently look underneath to check the colour with a spatula.


Crumble over the goat’s cheese, or dot with mascarpone, ricotta or crème fraîche, and place in the oven for just a few minutes, as it doesn’t take long to cook the top. Intermittently check by giving the pan a jiggle, and when it’s set, remove from the oven and run a spatula around the sides to gently unstick. Place a large chopping board on top of the pan and carefully but confidently invert while firmly holding the board; you should feel the frittata release. Either eat warm straight away, or leave to cool, slice and serve with a squeeze of lemon.



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