Asparagus, Leek, Gruyère Frittata
Asparagus and leeks are some of the first spring offerings at Farmers Markets in the Northwest. This is a quick and easy way to devour springs first bounty, not to mention tasty. Though it is best eaten while fresh from the oven, leftovers may be refrigerated and reheated the following day in the microwave.
The way I was taught to clean leeks while at culinary school is still the best way I have found to remove soil from between the leek leaves. Slice the whole leeks in half lengthwise with root intact. Wash each layer under running water until all the soil is removed. Only the white and pale green parts are used. The dark green part is bitter if eaten but can be added to a vegetable stock.
Store asparagus upright in a bowl lined with a paper towel in a half inch of water in the refrigerator. Asparagus has a breaking point. Hold one stalk by both hands at opposite ends, bend until it breaks. The stem end is fibrous and should be discarded. In this recipe, large, fat asparagus spears work best.
Scroll to the bottom for a printable recipe.
1 ½ cups leeks, about 1 large or 2 medium leeks
2 cups asparagus, washed, about 1 pound of asparagus
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
¾ cup Gruyère cheese, grated
6 large eggs, whipped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven broiler to 500⁰F. Position the rack six inches below.
2. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Wash each layer to remove any soil. Cut off and discard the dark green parts. Slice across the remaining white and pale green leek into one-half inch slices. Discard the root end.
3. Cut off and discard the hard-white part of the asparagus spears. Cut the rest into one-and-a-half-inch pieces.
4. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a ten-inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the leeks and asparagus. Toss and cook until softened, about four to five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with the cheese.
5. Pour the whipped eggs with optional thyme leaves evenly over the top of the cheese and vegetables. Cook for about four minutes until the bottom is set and lightly golden. Drizzle the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil between the side of the pan and the eggs all the way around. Slide a flat spatula under to loosen the bottom. Place the pan under the broiler and cook until the eggs are set, and the top is golden brown, about three to five minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and serve hot or at room temperature.
Season well with salt or the frittata will taste bland.