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Got leftovers? Everything goes in frittatas

Anthony Bourdain once commented on the professional walk-in in a manner in which most, if not all, professional chefs can relate. Regardless of the number of times that cooks dig through and clean the refrigerated space, every now and then you will find that one lonely pan that someone lazily crammed into a corner or is otherwise simply stashed somewhere it shouldn’t be.
And it’s usually not pretty at the time of discovery.
Well, we have that issue at home on occasion as well. With three children and a young adult at home (along with us), there tends to be crap everywhere in the refrigerator.
And when it comes to cleaning out the icebox, I lean on the expertise and memories of my mother, rest her soul, in compiling dishes in masses of unrecognizable slop. Of course, she had fancy “French” names for them, but it was still a pile of slop nonetheless. Nowadays, I’ll try to put leftovers in something that will not only make some kind of sense, but that our kids will eat, the picky little urchins.
Before I go any further I want to emphasize, or more to the point clarify, that my mother’s Swamp Meat and “a la garbage” were always magnificent and veritable feasts. In our house, we didn’t have much choice as to what we were going to eat, so the choice was easy: get yours before your seven siblings and visiting midshipmen and their friends took it all. I guess you would say that we were the jackals, and my mother the mighty lioness, laying down the prey for bulging eyes and empty stomachs.
But that was many years ago, and honestly I don’t recall mom ever making frittata, so I will pretend for the time being that this is my own invention, despite the fact that people have been making this since the onslaught of time.
One of my favorite dishes to use for such an exercise is the frittata, the Spanish-style, crust-less quiche aspirant. With a crust on it that the kids and wife adore (think of the edges on brownies, also a favorite with the crew) and a cheesy interior specked with pieces of last night’s dinner. In this particular instance, we had a grilled fete the night prior, so had some grilled chicken, beef, mushrooms and garlic kale just waiting to be used up before it became the unrecognizable mass on the second shelf behind the milk, chicken stock and bag of broccoli.
I made a frittata around Christmas-time and it was a huge hit, especially considering that we had a full house of guests. The entire thing was gone in a mere five minutes. This time around, however, it was just enough (that’s enough) and we were able to put the leftovers back in the fridge.
Hmm … I wonder if I can make a leftover-frittata frittata. Would I add extra cheese? Of course I would. You simply cannot have enough cheese. For the love of cheese and all that’s holy, I’m starting to sound like my cousins from Milwaukee. But, I digress.
The finished frittata will be similar in some forms to quiche, in that there is an egg/milk or cream base. From there, there is great disparity in the differences, including the absence of a crust in the former. The way that this bakes in a pan, you will have “edges” like you have on brownies on the outer corners. My family loves the edges so much that Julie once purchased an Edge Pan, which we still use. Its serpentine design affords edges to every brownie in the pan, and that makes for a happy crowd. I told my youngest that I would use that pan the next time I make Frittata; he really disliked the soft interior.
I’m done. My icebox is cleaner, and everyone has eaten. And with any luck I’ll be able to reheat the leftovers if no one beats me to it.
Leftover Frittata
makes 9 servings
9 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1 cup Blended cheeses (sharp & mild Cheddar)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Chopped, sautéed garlic kale
1 cup Sautéed Crimini mushrooms
1 cup Grilled chicken, cubed
1/2 cup Grilled steak, cubed
1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan
1.This is a very specific leftover frittata based on what I had in the walk-in that day. Just use any savory ingredients in your icebox!
2. Preheat oven to 425 (conventional) or 375 (convection)
3. Whisk together eggs, milk and cheese and add salt and pepper. Set aside
4. In a pan that is stove- and oven-ready, heat some butter and olive oil until all liquid has dissipated from the butter
5. Add kale, mushrooms, chicken and beef and cook until just heated through
6. Once heated through and the pan is once again nice and hot, pour the egg mixture over the ingredients
7. Top with the parmesan cheese (which will end up on the bottom of the finished dish) and bake until it is fluffed over and a little darker than you would cook a quiche
8. Remove and allow to rest until the top flattens out, and turn it out onto a platter or cutting board if you are serving individually
9. Serve with a nice, crisp salad and a light vinaigrette. This goes great with unsweetened tea if you are a nondrinker or a prosecco if you are