A friend of mine recently celebrated her birthday by throwing herself a brunch. It was a novel idea and something that felt fresh. Every year, I go out to dinner with friends. Every year, we go to a bar or a club. Every year, I have a good time. But something about morning breakfast goodies and spiked drinks and sunshine and sundresses really touched me. I didn’t want to have a night out. I wanted to have a morning in. My glorious friends pitched in by bringing delicious dishes and drinks of their own while I spent the better part of my Saturday cleaning, prepping and cooking. I made my most favorite overnight cinnamon rolls. A coffee cake that will be debuting here soon. And this asparagus frittata, which I think you will really like.
What I love about this frittata (and what makes it a fantastic brunch dish for a group) is that it bakes in a bundt pan, forming a beautiful eggy cake that can be easily sliced. You can do almost all of your prep work (chopping and dicing) the night before and throw together the ingredients quickly in the morning. After the frittata bakes, you top it with a generous dusting of cheese that melts to create an aromatic crust atop the delicate ‘cake.’ The asparagus, blanched briefly in hot water, retains its beautiful green color and tastes unbelievability fresh. This dish is a crowd pleaser and quite sophisticated-looking, particularly given the somewhat simple list of ingredients. Given that the cheese is the most assertive (and important, in my opinion) part of the dish, I recommend getting the highest quality you can find–aged and aromatic.
My brunch (if you were wondering) went off without a hitch. Great company and great food, not to mention drinks. You didn’t think I wouldn’t make drinks? Unfortunately I did not have a chance to take photos of them, but if you’re interested in the recipes for peach bellinis and strawberry lemonade, let me know. I’m happy to share–sans pictures. Because sometimes life gets in the way of pictures and that’s ok too. Especially when the most important memories can live most clearly in your mind (rose-colored glasses included).
adapted from Saveur.com
1 tablespoon of butter
2 cups of highest quality grated white cheddar
1 small bunch chives, coarsely chopped or 3 stalks of green onion, finely diced (I used green onion)
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed (about 16-20 stalks)
12 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and grated finely
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of milk
salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large budnt pan with butter.
2. Combine 1/2 cup of the grated cheese with 1 tablespoon of the chives or green onions and set aside.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add in the asparagus stalks and cook for about 3-4 minutes (until you can easily pierce the stalks with a fork). Drain and rinse with cold water before drying them with paper towels.
4. Cut the asparagus into 1/4 inch slices and place them in a large bowl. Add the flour, milk, eggs, carrots, onions, and cheese to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
5. Pour the contents of the bowl into the bundt pan and bake for about 45 minutes (until firm and lightly golden). Remove from the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.
6. Invert the bundt pan onto a baking sheet and evenly top the frittata with the cheese and green onion that you had set aside. Broil for only a few minutes, letting the cheese melt. Serve on a large plate/platter.
Musical Pairings: Field Music – Field Music + Asparagus Frittata
Kasey prepared an asparagus frittata for a recent brunch party that we hosted for her birthday and despite some hesitation owing to my general dislike of asparagus, I really enjoyed the dish. And I know I wasn’t alone — far from it in fact– as the entire frittata was quickly consumed by our guests, disappearing nearly as quickly as Kasey’s immensely popular homemade cinnamon rolls. The frittata was somewhat festive and delicate, yet assertive. And for that reason, my recommended musical accompaniment to this meal is Field Music‘s 2005 self-titled debut. Field Music is filled with pop goodness that features delicately-woven harmonies and upbeat melodies. Thus, it is a great choice for an album to get your brunch party off on the right foot. More at Musical Pairings. –Matthew