I recall one morning years ago, sitting on the living room floor of our old house, watching Martha Stewart Living [R.I.P.]. The cooking segment featured a frittata. But not just a frittata… a fri-tta-ta… a ri-cotta fri-tta-ta. Amazing. I’d never heard such perfect charm school enunciation. Fri-tta-ta has become a running joke in the family [mostly upheld by me]. Every time we prepare one, it’s necessary to full-y e-nun-ci-ate each syll-a-ble.

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As a meal for one, my two and a half egg frittatas turn out more like flat-tatas. A quick fold and pancake no more: now it’s a double-thick, cheese-encrusted omelet. March is a rough month in Minneapolis, but this was a warming reprieve from the gloomy grey winter that just won’t let go.

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Zucchini, Mushroom & Sarvecchio Frittata [serves 1]

Printable recipe.

2 whole eggs + 1 egg white

splash of 2% milk or half & half [1% is also fine; skim might be too thin]

2 T Sarvecchio cheese [Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano are fine substitutes], plus more for grating

salt

1 T butter

1/4 of a zucchini, sliced into half moons,1/8″ thick

4 crimini or button mushrooms, cleaned and tips of stems removed, sliced, 1/8″ thick

1/4 t dried oregano

about 3 stems parsley, leaves removed and finely chopped, to yield about 3/4 – 1 T

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a small bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs + 1 egg white, milk or half & half, 2 T Sarvecchio and salt. Set aside.

In an oven-proof fry pan over medium heat, melt butter and cook until frothy. Add zucchini and mushrooms, sprinkle with a pinch salt and toss to coat. Sauté 30 seconds. Add the oregano and parsley; sauté another 30 seconds.

Pour the egg mixture into the pan and, with a rubber spatula, fold gently to combine the vegetables, herbs and eggs. Grate more Sarvecchio on top, transfer the pan to the oven, and bake until the frittata is golden and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.

To kick up the flavors you could: add caramelized onions and prosciutto [or smoky bacon]; or replace the Sarvecchio with goat cheese and the oregano with fresh mint or basil. A family favorite fri-tta-ta is asparagus, fresh tomato and Fontina cheese, once made for an Easter brunch by my stepmom, Sandy. Bright and seasonal, the right amount of gooey cheese. We all raved. Although there was that other time we went with asparagus, ramps, green garlic and goat cheese; it was superb. Oh, the possibilities are endless!

A squirrel bread original.

Mushroom nutrition bite: On the bus ride from Milwaukee to Minneapolis, I read a pleasantly surprising article. Apparently the humble white button mushroom has more nutritional kick than it gets credit for. According to a study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, white buttons contain a higher antioxidant concentration than their more exotic cousins – such as matsutake, shiitake and maitake. The article went on to say that button mushrooms may also help prevent breast cancer, promote immune function, and protect against Alzheimer’s and other age-related cognitive decline.

I always – if only slightly – felt like I was cheating myself out of valuable nutritive properties by buying the cheaper button mushrooms, as opposed to the much more expensive, more health-promoted varieties. Now we know you don’t have to break the bank to benefit from what mushrooms have to offer! Learn something new every day…

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