Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ham & Asparagus Frittata

If I were going to be truly honest, I would call it "The Lazy Wench's Quiche."  That's what I was in the mood for, quiche, but I didn't have any frozen pie crust.  And, I was too lazy to make homemade pie crust, which is really too bad because the crust is one of my favorite things about a quiche.  My daughter was happy though, as she is not a crust-lover.  I don't know what I did wrong with that girl!

Anyway, because of my laziness, the frittata was born.  As I drove home, I decided what was going into it.  I had some sliced, smoked gouda that I knew would be perfect for it.  I adore gouda, and smoked gouda is even better.  It's a great choice for baking because it melts so well, and that smoked flavor adds so much depth to any dish.  Okay, the cheese is settled, now what meat and vegetable?  I tossed chicken around for a little bit, but didn't really want to take the time to cook that, since the frittata takes somewhere around an hour to bake.  Ham!  I have ham!  Ham and smoked gouda would be awesome together!  And, the vegetable?  Well, that one was actually an easy choice after the meat and cheese had been picked - asparagus.  Asparagus and ham are a great combination, and again, that smoked gouda would complement both perfectly.  We are in business now!

Even though I miss the crust, frittatas are actually one of my favorite egg dishes because they are so easy to make, and they come together pretty quickly.  You can cheat a lot, too.  Why not grab some deli roasted chicken to cube up or use any leftover chicken you might have (or turkey, since the holidays are upon us)?  Want some potatoes in there?  Grab a bag of frozen country style hash browns.  Fresh vegetables are great, but frozen work just as well, and you can buy many already cut up.  It wouldn't take any time to throw together a Swiss turkey and broccoli frittata, using leftover turkey, a bag of frozen broccoli and some Swiss cheese.  One of the things that I do if I'm using frozen veggies or potatoes, to cut cooking time a little, is to defrost them for a bit in the microwave.  Not actually cook them, just thaw them.  It can shave an additional 30 minutes of baking time, which is big, since it takes over an hour for the eggs to set up.

Let's get to the recipe, but first I should warn you, the aroma emanating from your oven will drive you crazy long before the frittata is done.  It's from the smoked gouda, and it smells so good it's irritating because you have to wait so long before you can scarf it down!

Here's your Cast of Characters.

3 - 4 Cups cooked ham, cubed
1 Package frozen asparagus (you can use fresh, if they're in season)
6 Eggs, beaten
1 Cup Fat-free half and half
6 Slices smoked gouda
1 Onion, diced
2 Teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 Teaspoon Lawry's season salt
1 Teaspoon, each, McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb seasoning and Lemon Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 Cup shredded cheese (I used Monterrey Jack, but any good melting cheese will work)

Preheat oven to 425.  Spray a large casserole or cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.

Cube ham into bite-size chunks. 

Place in medium mixing bowl.  Microwave asparagus for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until almost thawed completely.  Cut into 1-inch pieces.

Throw into the bowl with the ham.  Chop onion, coarsely, and separate the pieces a little so they're not in big chunks.

Put that in the bowl, along with the garlic.

Mix well, and spread evenly into prepared baking dish.

Place cheese slices over the top.

Add half and half and seasonings to the eggs.

Stir well, making sure to scrape the sides of bowl to keep every bit of seasoning in the eggs.

Pour over cheese slices.

It's only going to go about halfway up your dish, but that's okay.  It will expand as it cooks.


Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove foil, and sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over the top.

Continue cooking, uncovered, for another 25 minutes, or until eggs are set and knife inserted in center comes out clean.  (Because there is so much cheese, it might be hard to tell when the eggs are done.  Just open the frittata a little to see if eggs are still runny or jiggly.)

The top should now be all golden and bubbly!

Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting it.

You can see how beautifully the gouda melted into the frittata!