Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pasilla Chile, Potato & Cheese Frittata

Like an open faced or unfolded omelet, an Italian Frittata is a versatile dish to serve any time of day. It's perfect for two but my chintzy recipe is easily expanded to feed the whole family. And you can make the recipe your own to feed any finicky eater.

I've made a Frittata photo story recipe before, just click here to see it. It was a vegetable crisper-emptying meal. For my latest version it has a Latin twist with the addition of Pasilla Chiles from my local Mexican market. But as I mentioned, this recipe is easily adaptable to use any local low-spicy chile you have on hand (or from the can.) Almost any thin-sliced or leafy veggie can also be used, like: squash, bell pepper, green beans, corn, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and spinach.

Latin markets often list a Poblano Chile as a Pasilla (which is actually the dried version name,) but both are the same. A Pasilla (or Poblano) Chile is much milder than a spicy jalapeno. I find that they are even milder when cooked and take on a much deeper pepper flavor. They are about the same size as a bell pepper, but slightly longer with a darker green hue. Pasilla Chiles cost about the same too. They also stuff nicely like a bell pepper, and I have a delish recipe that you should check out, by clicking here.

As for a Frittata, it's prepared almost like an omelet, you just don't fold it, and you finish it topped with melting cheese in the oven -- like an omelet pizza! For more heft I also added some sliced potatoes. You can make it to serve two or ten; as a light breakfast or a full on brunch. Just add more eggs, chiles, potatoes and cheese to a bigger oven-proof pan, that's all. To get more detailed directions for a Frittata that feeds a party of 10, go to the end of the post and read my Hindsight section.

Try out my Italian Frittata with a Latin twist -- it's a one pan dish. But be sure to make plenty, as seconds will surely be requested.

Ingredients (2-3 servings)
  • 5-6 eggs
  • 2-3 Pasilla Chiles (or Poblano Chiles) - Anaheim chiles are a local tasty mild chile, too.
  • 1 medium potato - I used russet, but you can use red or white potatoes. Enough to fill the bottom of your omelet pan.
  • 2 tablespoons of milk - optional. For mixing into eggs.
  • Cheese - enough to cover the Frittata. Any type you like. I used about a half cup of Mozzarella (use more or less to your liking.)
  • Tablespoon of oil - to fry potatoes.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

First char Pastilla Chiles over an open gas flame. Use a pair of tongs to turn them every 10 seconds or so. They should blacken on all sides. As each chile is done, add to a bowl and cover with a plate so they continue to cook and steam - this will make the blackened skin easier to remove. You don't have to remove all the skin, it's just about cooking the chiles to soften them.

For an electrical range just broil or bake them in the oven. Watch closely and turn when each side darkens and blisters. You could also just saute them whole in a pan until they soften and lightly char. The idea is to cook them until soft, and you don't have to remove all the skin.

Once the chiles are blackened keep covered (I use a plate) for about 2 minutes. (You can go to the potato sauteing part now.) The chiles will continue to steam when covered and this will make it easier to rub off the charred skin.

Slice potatoes into 1/4 inch thick rounds. (Okay to slice or chop the potatoes any way you like.) Over a medium heat, add oil to an ovenproof pan (about 6-8 inches wide.) When oil is hot add potatoes. Allow them to cook about 5 minutes each side until tender and browned.

Best not to move the potatoes around when you first put them in the pan as they will stick and crumble apart at first; just let them set 2 - 3 minutes then loosen, check until brown.

As the potatoes cook, fill up a bowl with water and rub off the blackened skin. Finally rinse off the chiles to remove the last bits of char -- don't worry about removing every last bit, hey it's just extra flavor. If you bake or saute chiles, there will  be less char to remove.

The last step for the cooked chiles is to remove the stem and seeds. Just slice lengthwise into each chile and slice off the stem top. Remove the seeds - they should just slide off the skin. Finally slice or dice the chiles. I like large pieces or strips.(The chiles have very a little heat, but still don't rub your eyes or they will burn, and wash your hands with soap after handling them, just in case -- you could also use rubber gloves when cleaning chiles.)

Add eggs to a bowl and some milk (optional). Whisk and blend together for a minute. Once both sides of potatoes are browned (and not stuck to the bottom) slowly pour in the blended eggs. Add the tender Pastilla strips on the eggs and potato mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.

Turn heat to medium/low and allow to cook without stirring. After about 3-5 minutes eggs will start to solidify along the edges of the pan. Cook until eggs are solid about an inch inward from the edges of the pan, but still watery in the middle. It's time to finish up by adding the cheese.

Turn off the stove heat and turn on the oven broiler. Top Frittata with cheese and add to the oven. I don't put the pan right up against the heating element because the Frittata may burn too easily, best to have it a at least 6 inches away from flame or heating coil for better control.

You will want to check every minute, so the cheese doesn't burn. You are looking for a light browning -- my version, in the photo gif above the ingredients, looks good but it got too brown and the cheese was not gooey enough. So next time I would remove the Frittata at the first sign of browning. It should only take a few minutes total. You will get better at timing with practice.

When the Pastilla Chile , Potato and Cheese Frittata is lightly browned carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. You can cut into the middle of the Fritatta to make sure the eggs are cooked through -- if not then return to the oven for a couple more minutes (regular 350 degree heat, no need for the broiler.)

Take a knife and slice along the outside edge of pan to release the Frittata. You should be then be able to get a spatula under it to loosen and make it easy to serve.

*For a cheesy version spread on a handful of shredded cheese during the last minute of broiling or last 3 minutes of baking.

Poblano chiles are about 4 inches long, much larger than typical spicy chiles. Pastillas (poblanos) are very mild -- actually not spicy at all to me. I charred the chiles over a gas flame but it's easy enough to just bake them in a pan for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees, until they soften. Or just saute them in a pan on the stove top over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes each side.

Once the cheese is added you can bake (375 degrees) or broil the Frittata. Watch closely, once it first starts to lightly brown, it's ready. Remove and ready to serve.

This recipe is easy to expand. Add any favorite veggie, depending how you like them, cooked or raw. Also, cooked sausage, ham and bacon are easy protein additions.

 I had a brunch and made a huge Pasilla Chile, Chorize Sausage, Potato and Cheese Frittata, inviting 10 of my friends and neighbors over. So the day before, I pulled out my largest frying pan and fried up enough potatoes to cover the bottom. Then blackened about 8 Pasilla Chiles. I washed off the chiles and sliced and removed the seeds. I put the browned potatoes and sliced cooked chiles in containers until the next morning.

A hour before the guests arrived, I started heating up the sliced Chorizo (I used a dry-aged type, similar to pepperoni sausage,) and added the potatoes in my large ovenproof frying pan (it's 11 inches across and 2 inches deep.) I cracked and separated 2 dozen eggs into a large bowl. Next I added a 1/4 cup of milk to the eggs and whisked it all together.

Once the potatoes were reheated, I added the egg mixture and topping of pre-cooked sliced Pasilla Chiles. I cooked the eggs until they were solid about a couple of inches in from the outer edge. (It takes twice as long to cook since the pan is larger.) When almost done (while the eggs are still runny in the middle of the Frittata,) I turned off the heat and added a lot of cheese (at least a cup.)

Finally, I turned on the broiler and cooked the Frittata until the cheese was melted and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes (depending how close the oven-proof frying pan was to the flame or heating coil.) Be sure to check every minute, to make sure the Frittata doesn't burn.

You can also just bake it slower at 375 degrees, about 20 to 30 minutes. It will take longer, but this is a safer way to go. Just check that the eggs are not runny in the middle before serving. And add the cheese during the last 5 to 10 minutes, so the cheese stays moist.

The Pasilla, Potato and Cheese Frittata was a big hit and got a lot of compliments -- I hope your version gets the same reaction!


Rhonda said...

Yum. I have been on a quiche kick and have been talking my husband into making them for me. I think this is more up his alley. I think can persuade him into making this for me.

99 Cent Chef said...

hi Rhonda, it's certainly easy enough to do and very tasty...bon appetit ;-p

Patrick Hester said...

Hi Billy,

I was reading your blog and I am interested in speaking with you about being on our hit TLC show. Please message me if you're interested or give me a call when you can. Thank you.

Patrick Hester
Associate Producer, TLC
212-784-7740 ext. 299

Patrick Hester said...

Not sure if I gave you my e-mail before

Unknown said...

Billy is a frugal culinary genius

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