Two things got me thinking about today’s recipe: first the garlic, onions and asparagus that have started to pop up in the garden thanks to this early spring and second, Aurora Importing’s contest asking what your favourite Nonna recipe is. A fresh asparagus frittata is a great way to welcome spring but doing it slow and over low heat makes it crispy the way my grandparents used to make it. Unlike common Italian frittatas, made with just eggs, my grandparents used cornmeal in their recipe which I suspect was a way, back when times were rough, to add a filler and extend the use of expensive eggs. The result though is a beautifully golden and crispy frittata. Here’s the recipe…my celebration of spring and home cooking.
Asparagus and Sausage Frittata
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into quarters and blanched
1 cured sausage link, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup milk or water
salt to taste
Trim asparagus, cut into quarters, blanch and drain. Cut sausage into 1/4 inch slices and pan fry on medium in olive oil, making sure both sides brown. While the sausage is cooking, mix together eggs, both cheeses, water or milk, cornmeal and salt to taste, using a fork to be sure to break up the eggs. You’ll end up with a thick but still loose batter. Once sausage is browned, add asparagus to pan and saute for two minutes.
Once asparagus is sauteed, pour cornmeal mixture over the sausage and vegetables. Mix with a fork, allowing the mixture to begin to cook and ensuring it starts to thicken. If you miss this step, it’s possible the centre of the frittata won’t firm up and cook. The mixture will begin to look like scrambled eggs. Once thickened, flatten out the mixture with your fork and allow the frittata to cook on medium, slowly to crisp up on the bottom.
Use your fork to peek at the underside of the frittata to see that is has become crispy. Once ready, turn out the frittata on a plate and return to the frying pan, adding a little more olive oil to the pan first, to allow the other side to crisp up on medium. Once cooked to a golden brown on both sides, remove to a large plate and cut into pie slices for serving.