I love my garden and I love my CSA, both of which I treasure for the fresh, delicious, seasonal food they bring into my kitchen. But I have to admit to a guilty pleasure: the off season. When I get to select each and every vegetable myself just because I feel like eating it this week. When I don’t have a bumper crop of arugula or zucchini demanding that I make pesto or relish. When I don’t have to resist buying some enticing vegetable because my CSA box is groaning under the weight of other harvest bounty. (I know, some people have real problems, right?)
So anyway, this week, I just up and bought two heads of cauliflower. I did! And after you make this frittata for the first time with the reasonable single head of cauliflower you will no doubt purchase at first, I am pretty sure that you will hurry back to the store for two more heads of cauliflower as well. Just in case you have to make the frittata twice more in rapid succession. Which might be my plan.
The smokiness here comes from a combination of smoked cheese and smoked paprika, another could-be-overkill-but-isn’t epiphany from the Ottolenghi cookbook Plenty. I wouldn’t normally say that smoked cheese is my thing, but this frittata is something. Something good. J says it tastes meaty. He means that as a compliment.
This Smoky Cauliflower Frittata would be excellent at any meal, and it is flavorful enough that you could cube it up to serve as a bite-sized party snack (or, you know, a straight-from-the-fridge snack). In salted water, parboil a small cauliflower, including the stem, cut into medium pieces. Drain well, then saute in an ovenproof pan with 2 Tbsp. olive oil until the edges of the florets begin to turn golden brown. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 and grate and toss together 5 oz. smoked cheese (I used Beechers) and 2 oz. aged cheddar. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine 6 eggs, 1/4 c. greek yogurt (the original recipe called for creme fraiche), 2 Tbsp. dijon and 2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika, then stir in 3 Tbsp. finely chopped chives and 3/4 of the grated cheese (reserve the remaining cheese for later). Season well with salt and pepper. When the cauliflower florets look nice and toasty, pour the egg mixture over the cauliflower and use a fork to distribute the cauliflower and cheese evenly around the pan. Cook about 5 minutes over medium heat. Scatter remaining cheese on top, move to oven, and cook 10-12 minutes more until the frittata is nearly set. I like to finish by turning the oven up to a broil for a couple of minutes at the end (leaving the pan on the middle rack) to slightly brown the top. Let rest a few moments, then serve hot. (Most frittatas are also great cold or at room temperature, but I preferred this one hot.) I served it with a plain green salad dressed with this lemony vinaigrette.