Frittata Pasquale – Easter Frittata with Asparagus, Artichokes and Herbs

frittata luxury villa rental italy italiaoutdoors food and wineWe find frittatas all over Italy during our cycling tours and ski holidays, but each region has its own favorite traditional variation. This dish hails from Umbria, where it would be served for Easter lunch. Easter dishes to me always celebrate the beginning of spring, when after a long winter of root vegetables and soups, we welcome fresh baby greens, asparagus, artichokes and herbs. In the Veneto, discovering fresh asparagus and baby artichokes is one of the highlights of a market visit during our spring cycling tours. To quote from La Cucina – The Regional Cooking of Italy, “The sight, smell and taste of this dish will make it abundantly clear that spring has finally arrived.”

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There are several quite interesting regional recipes for frittata in this book, using unique herbs and greens that you would find growing wild in the area. In the Tuscan town of Garfagnana, a springtime Frittata di Vitalba would contain asparagus as well as the tips of young clematis, which grows wild in the Tuscan woods. In Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the feast of St. John on June 24 is celebrated with a Frittata Con Le Erbe, which includes the buds of bladder campion, long pricklyhead poppy, and hops. Lombardia also enjoys frittatas made with hops.

fresh herbs culinary bike tours italy italiaoutdoors food and wineHere in Maine it will be a while before I find much green, given the feet of snow still outside my door. But when fiddlehead season arrives, I will be sure to create my own springtime fritatta! In the meantime, I satisfied my craving for greens with this Easter Frittata. The original recipe called for several meats to flavor it, including pancetta, blood sausage, and salami, but I decided to make a lighter, all vegetable and herb version. I’ll enjoy this with a crisp Orvieto wine from Umbria.

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Frittata Pasquale

1 large artichoke, outer leaves and fuzzy choke removed, or 3 small canned artichokes
Juice of 1 lemon (if using fresh artichoke)
1/2 cup herbs (mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, dill)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 clove garlic
6 stalks asparagus, woody ends trimmed and stalks chopped
4 ounces baby spinach
3 cups arugula
1 shallot, minced
1/2 clove garlic
6 stalks asparagus, woody ends trimmed and stalks chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
4 large eggs, beaten

Slice the artichokes and place in water with the lemon juice.

Finely chop the herbs and place in a large bowl. Blend with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, asparagus and artichokes and sauté. Remove the garlic when lightly browned, continue to cook the shallot, asparagus and artichokes until tender. Add the spinach and arugula and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the cooked vegetables to the large bowl with the herb mixture and stir to combine. Add the eggs and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heave sauté pan over medium heat. Add the egg mixture. Cook until the bottom is set and lightly browned; you can see when it starts to brown around the edges. Carefully turn the frittata and cook just until the other side is set. Turning the frittata can be tricky. If it looks like you won’t be able to turn it in one piece, you can cover the sauté pan with a plate and flip everything over, then slide the frittata back into the sauté pan to cook the other side.

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About chefbikeski

Culinary Director and Owner of Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine. Creator of uniquely personalized active (bike, ski, hike, walk) tours in Italy. Small groups, owner/expert led, customized to your desires, your fitness levels, your budget. We personally design and lead each and every tour ourselves, to deliver the best in personalized service.
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