There are certain people I’ll always remain indebted to. People who have encouraged my love of food and have initiated me to various kinds of items/cuisines hitherto unexplored. My Jekubaba (jyethu/father’s elder brother) perhaps tops the list. In an age when eating out was a luxury, he made sure he took me out to the fanciest of restaurants. Most of the eating hubs that I have been to in Calcutta have been introduced to me by Jekubaba. Even when at home, he would take care to get everyday items cooked in different ways and that probably is something with rendered in me a super-versatile palate.
If Jekubaba showed me where to eat out in Kolkata, his jamai (son-in-law) Antar da showed me the same for Delhi. By now we were fast forwarded by a decade and the food scene in India had changed drastically. And the good thing with Antar da is that he not just exposed me to multifarious cuisines in the most brilliant restaurants, but also showed how making them at home is an equally viable option.
Yes, he has cooked and fed me everything starting from lasagna to hummus, from baklava to strawberry crumble, from frutti de mare to lamb chops. But when it comes to Antar da, the first thing that springs to your mind are his breakfasts. Now I’m not much of a breakfast person. I wake up way too late and by the time I actually do that it’s time for brunch. But Antar da’s breakfasts had a different charm. In my months of staying at their place in Delhi, I would ensure I never miss a single one of them. The novel ways in which he would prepare beans, mushrooms, bruschettas, custards, sandwiches, crepes and canapes were completely alien to me. But what would stand out as the most wholesome of the entire lot were his frittatas. Handsome slices of crustless quiche with an array of delicious toppings, the frittatas would be hands down winners.
Inspired by that and a Nigel Slater recipe I saw the day before, I set out to make a frittata. An egg-laden breakfast is always the healthiest way to start your day and what better if you have a whole lot of spinach and herbs to add to it! You can use absolutely any topping for these frittatas. I had a good mind to throw in some bacon, but they needed to be thawed and I was super hungry. Add mushrooms and corns if you don’t take meat or even some dry fruits and nuts to give the soft eggs some crunch. Whatever you do, this is one dish that will never fail you. NEVER.
Spinach: 2-3 cups
Basil leaves, chopped: 2 tbsp
Fresh parsley, chopped: 2 tbsp
Fresh mint, chopped: 1 tbsp
Fresh coriander, chopped: 2 tbsp
Dill: 1 tsp (I used dried)
Rosemary: 1 tsp (I used dried)
Onion, sliced: 1 medium
Butter: 1 + 1 tsp
Olive Oil: 1 + 1 tsp
Cheddar cheese, cubed: 3 tbsp (You can use any cheese of your choice)
Roasted garlic flakes: 1 tsp
Salt, to taste (I used garlic salt)
Pepper powder: 3/4 tsp
1. In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and butter each. Add the spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes till they soften and become wilted. Set aside.
2. In a big bowl, whisk the eggs and season well with salt and pepper. Add the fresh and dried herbs and onions. Add the softened spinach to the eggs and mix well.
3. Heat the remaining butter and oil in the same pan. When it starts to sizzle add the eggs. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes and then add the cheddar cheese. Cook for another 5-6 minutes.
4. In the meanwhile preheat the oven to 170 degree C.
5. Now transfer the frittata into an ovenproof dish (it should have taken shape by now) and bake for 13-15 minutes.
6. Serve hot with bread.