Karl and I wanted a hearty breakfast to get us moving today. Neither of us had class this morning, so we decided to cook something a little more fancy than the usual oatmeal with dried fruit.
We managed to do it without purchasing anything extra. I fried up the bacon that we had left over from our first turkey, and planned to make a frittata with whatever was around. A frittata is a lot like an omelet. It's usually thicker, though, and instead of adding any "filling" after the egg has cooked, then folding the omelet over, you usually just pour the egg over the "filling" and cook it around it. The frittata is generally served by slicing it into wedges, similar to a pie.
Karl, ever the creative one, chose our frittata filling by, apparently, thinking of the ingredients most unlikely to complement one another. His genius plan was to make a sauerkraut, mushroom, onion, and garlic frittata. I made some mild protests, but he insisted that he felt good about this one.
Sauerkraut is awesome. We regularly purchase cans of Valutime sauerkraut for snacking (and at only $0.50 per can, you can't go wrong!). NutritionData.com reveals that canned, low-sodium sauerkraut is low-calorie (34 calories per serving), very low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and a good source of calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, etc., etc. The list goes on. So, if you can get over the smell, which apparently some people find unpleasant, it's a great way to snack healthily, especially if you are fond of other pickled foods (like, duh, pickles).
Despite my love for sauerkraut, I was skeptical that eggs, mushrooms, and sauerkraut were a match made in heaven (especially for breakfast!). However, Karl's sense of adventure is contagious, and I knew he'd eat it no matter how horrible it was (waste not, want not!). I also knew there was a container of oatmeal in the pantry in case I had to call on the backup breakfast reserves.
Well, I have to hand it to Karl: all my cooking instincts and intuitions were dead wrong. Karl's quirky breakfast concoction was delicious. I am actually looking forward to making this again. The sauerkraut wasn't too strong after it cooked for a few minutes with the onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and added just enough of its lovely sour tang to make the frittata taste magical.
Try it for yourself! This is a great way to serve a healthy, more impressive breakfast, and the total cost was actually not high. The most expensive ingredient will be the mushrooms, but you can often find crimini mushrooms or white button mushrooms on sale for 1 pint for $2 or less.
A tip for making frittata: we used a special Calphalon pan set designed precisely for frittatas (a gift from Karl's parents, thank you!), which includes a second pan that fits on top of the first pan to make flipping clean and easy.* If you don't have such a pan set, don't worry! Just preheat your broiler before you start the frittata, and make sure you use an oven safe pan. Once you think the bottom of the frittata is cooked, just remove it from the stovetop and put it under the broiler for about 2 minutes (not too close to the broiler). Your frittata will be perfectly cooked, and you won't have to try to flip it expertly in the pan. The extra filling can make the egg heavy and you will most likely just make a mess.
If you are using the frittata pan set, we have found it works better if the separate pan is preheated over a low flame so that it is hot when it receives the frittata (otherwise, cooking the other side takes forever).
Karl's Crazy Mushroom and Sauerkraut Frittata
1/2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP onion, chopped fine
1 cup sliced crimini (a.k.a. baby portabella) mushrooms, or any other mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup canned sauerkraut
4 eggs, beaten well
1 TBSP grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat broiler if not using a frittata pan set.
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 3 or 4 minutes). Add the mushrooms, and continue to cook for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauerkraut, and cook 2 more minutes.
Pour the beaten eggs over the mushroom/sauerkraut mixture in the pan. As the eggs cook, use a heat-resistant spatula to lift the sides away from the pan and allow more liquid egg to flow into the resulting space. Repeat until most of the egg is set.
If using a frittata pan set like ours, place the second pan on top of the first and flip quickly. Give a gentle shake to make sure the frittata falls into what is now the bottom pan. Remove the top pan.
Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and replace the top pan (to help it melt).
Remove the fritatta from heat after about 2 or 3 minutes at the most. Serve hot.
*Our frittata stuck to the bottom of the pan a little, so it didn't transfer as beautifully during the "flip." Oh well! It still tasted like a million bucks.