Adam in the Bible was good at naming things, Adam the food blogger, not so much. I first called this “Caramelized Cauliflower Frittata with Onions, Cheddar and Nutmeg” then thought it was weird to emphasize the nutmeg, even though that gives you a clue as to the flavor profile. Next title was “Caramelized Cauliflower Frittata with Onions” which makes it sound very oniony though, actually, it is quite oniony: golden brown onions in with the eggs, pickled onions sprinkled on at the end. Finally I settled on “Caramelized Cauliflower Frittata” because that’s really what this is, a chance to use up leftover cauliflower on a weekend morning. And you know what? It’s one of the best breakfasts I’ve made in a long time.
I know you all get mad when I do a recipe in paragraph form with pictures rather than condense it all at the end, but my recipes are loosey-goosey: they’re meant to be toyed with. I just want you to get the gist so you can make it your own way with whatever you have. For example, this technique would work equally well with broccoli.
Step one: Preheat your oven to 450 and heat olive oil–1/4 cup–in a cast iron skillet. Add cauliflower florets, sprinkle with salt, and cook on very high heat, tossing occasionally, until brown all over.
Taste the cauliflower here: it should be just cooked through and flavorful and highly enjoyable. Take it out of the skillet, put it on a plate, and add a whole sliced onion with a pat of butter and a big pinch of salt.
Turn down the heat. This moment with the onions gives you plenty of time to do everything else you need to do. In fact, I’m starting to appreciate onions as a great way to get started cooking without having everything else prepped. Since onions taste better when they cook for a long time on a low heat, you get to this stage, turn down the flame, and let them cook for as long as you can–45 minutes, if you can stand to wait–and use that time to prep your eggs. In this case, beat together 6 eggs with salt, pepper and some nutmeg (remember the nutmeg? Use the fresh stuff, just a little bit)–oh and I grated a big mound of sharp white cheddar (about 1 cup):
At this point, you can have a moment of respite: sit down, read the paper, sip some coffee. You want those onions beautiful and golden brown. When they’re there, add the cauliflower back to the skillet and turn up the heat:
Then pour in your eggs and stir in your cheese, saving some to sprinkle on top:
Cook on the stove top until the edges start to firm up and then place the whole skillet in the oven. It should take between 5 and 10 minutes for the frittata to cook; you’ll know it’s done when you press in the center with your finger and it’s firm and not at all wet. Here it is, hot out of the oven:
Looks good, right?
To gild the lily, I took some pickled red onions from my fridge–and I made these from a recipe on Bon Appetit that’s so easy I can tell you here: slice an onion, shove it into a jar, mix together 2 cups of white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and a big pinch of salt and pour it over the onion; let it sit for an hour or longer and there you are–and chopped it along with some parsley to sprinkle over the top.
As you can see, I cut the frittata into wedges and lifted it out like you would a slice of pie.
And it was a hit! What a great way to use up leftover vegetables in your Frigidaire. So this weekend, don’t be shy: grab some cauliflower, grab some eggs, grab some nutmeg and get to work. And if you need a name for your concoction, don’t ask me. Let’s just agree to call it delicious.