Broccoli, Leek, and Irish Cheddar Cheese Frittata
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 30 minutes Soaking Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes
This is a nutrition-packed frittata that makes a wonderfully green-flecked Saint Patrick’s day feast that is equally good for lunch, brunch, or an informal supper. Be sure to allow 30 minutes for the leeks to soak; as with any member of the onion family, a good soak will reduce their potency. The cold water preserves the texture and doesn’t cook it, allowing the leek or onion to stay flavorful, yet become milder.
1 leek, trimmed and washed well (see Kitchen Tips)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon cultured butter
¼ small head savoy cabbage, cut into thin strips (about 1 cup)
1 head broccoli, with florets and stems roughly cut into 1-inch pieces
12 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1 teaspoon dry English mustard (ground)
1 cup shredded Irish Cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons cream cheese, cubed
- Soak the washed leeks in cold water for 30 minutes (see Kitchen Tips). Drain. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a large cast-iron pan or ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and butter and swirl in the pan to help it melt faster. As soon as the butter has melted and is foaming, add the drained leeks and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the cabbage and broccoli and cook, stirring, for about 3 more minutes, until the cabbage has softened. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the vegetables cook while you prepare the egg mixture.
- Place the egg yolks into a medium mixing bowl and add the salt, pepper, caraway, and dry mustard, and stir until well blended. Stir in ¼ cup of the shredded Cheddar. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites into a large mixing bowl. With a balloon whisk or large whisk, whisk the egg whites for 4 to 6 minutes, or until they hold stiff peaks. Add about one-third of the egg whites to the yolk mixture and stir gently but thoroughly. The mixture will be lighter in color and texture. Fold in another one-third of the whites until incorporated, and then repeat with the last third.
- Gently pour the egg mixture into the hot pan with the partially cooked vegetables. Dot the surface with the cream cheese cubes and cover with the remaining shredded Cheddar cheese. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. It will puff as it bakes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
If you haven’t cooked with leeks before, you need to know a few things: they’re delicious, but they absorb an amazing amount of soil as they grow, so you’ll need to wash them extremely well. First, trim off the tough outer leaves. Then, place the leek on a work surface, hold it by the root end and, with a sharp knife, slice lengthwise, starting about an inch from the root and working your way down the leaves (keeping the root end intact for the moment). Roll the leek over about half a turn, and slice again, so that the once tightly wound leaves hang in big strands from the root end. Wash well under running water, making sure to get in between each strand. When you are satisfied that all the dirt is removed, you can cut off the root end, trim any remaining tough green leaves and soak, slice or chop as the recipe requires. Soaking leeks for half an hour—after you wash them—makes them a little milder; they are a member of the onion family, after all.