Zucchine, or courgettes, with mint is one of my favourite combinations and you find it a lot in Puglian dishes, like my favourite zucchine alla poverella. They say that the use of mint is due to the influence of Saracen invaders, but this dish shows the Spanish influence as well. Frittate, very like a Spanish omelette, usually cut into squares, often show up as an antipasto, maybe with artichoke, wild asparagus or, in this case, zucchine and mint.
I have to confess that the frittata shown in the photos wasn’t very nice. I normally cook it like a Spanish omelette, first frying the zucchini in a little oil, then adding the cheese, egg and lots of chopped mint. After cooking the bottom half (ideally with a lid on) you place a plate over the top, tip the plate over and slide the omelette back in the pan to cook the other side.
This time I followed a recipe which suggest you cooked it in the oven, it seemed to me an easier option and used less oil but the consistency was completely different from a fried omelette, more like a baked egg custard – too dense and firm. If you wanted to try the baked variety maybe you could add some milk or cream as if it were a quiche filling, but I am going to stick to the fried variety.
It couldn’t be more simple. For every four eggs use 250g of zucchine, cut into thin rounds, a large handful of mint, chopped finely and 100 g of freshly grated parmesan. If you can get them, the baby zucchini have more flavour, if you can get them with flowers so much the better as they look so pretty – remove the central pistil and cut into strips.
I wouldn’t use a stronger cheese as it would overpower the delicate flavours. If you want to use garlic, add a clove cut into two halves and heat it up in the oil, removing the pieces before they brown and before you add the zucchine. Baby fresh peas are a possible addition if you have some.
Brown the zuccine on the bottom, turn them over and then pour on the egg, cheese and mint mixture.
Delicious! Some Puglian frittata include bread crumbs – you do tend to get bread added to everything here – part of the cucina povera legacy where you made do with what you had in an attempt to fill your family up! If you are serving as an antipasto and you don’t want to fill people up so much I wouldn’t add them as they give a denser texture. Even served as a main course I would prefer bread on the side and a lighter omelette.
Serve hot in wedges or cut into cubes as an antipasto. Also nice cold as a picnic dish or with a salad as a summer lunch. Also freezes ok..