Maybe it was baking thousands of scones, biscuits, coffeecakes, and muffins at the bakery, but breakfast seems a very accessible meal to me. Once you get over dirtying a bowl and a wooden spoon (doing dishes is really not that bad, people), you can whip up a batch of cream scones in 15 minutes or less. Usually, it takes me longer to decide what to make than it does to actually make it.
But now I want to talk about eggs. Insular, whole, protected, holistic. Eggs are beautiful and a little mysterious. Humorous and bizarre. Unctuous and fluffy. I can't imagine life without them. As a baker, they enable me to make almost everything I make--cakes lighter than the fuzz on a butterfly, meringues piled high on cream pies, custards that coat your tongue, and the most tender pie crusts you'll ever have the honor of eating.
But they also do magical things at breakfast. Huevos rancheros is the perennial favorite, but let's not limit ourselves. This morning, for instance, I did a little fridge-clearing jig, and came up with this frittata. Leeks, mushrooms, spinach. No crust (because there isn't enough coffee in Kenya to make most people want to prepare a pie crust in the morning). A lot of recipes tell you to finish frittatas in a 350 degree oven, but that's crazy talk. To get a browned top, run the thing under the broiler for a few minutes. You'll thank me.
Serves 4 very hungry people or 6 sort of hungry people
In a large skillet, melt over medium heat:
2 tablespoons butter
Meanwhile, trim the tough green parts and the root-ends from:
2 large leeks
Slice the leeks in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Fill a bowl with cold water, and place the leeks in the bowl, swishing them to remove any grit. Thoroughly dry the leeks and saute them in the butter until they start to soften and become aromatic, about 5 minutes.
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
Cover the skillet for a few minutes until the mushrooms begin to release their juices. Add:
4 ounces fresh spinach
Again, cover the skillet until the spinach is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. At the last minute, throw in:
A handful of basil leaves, chopped
Remove the skillet from the heat and set a cast-iron skillet on the same burner. If your skillet is very well seasoned (and I mean very well because eggs are incredibly hard to clean off your cookware, as I'm sure you've noticed), there's no need to use any fat. I melted a tablespoon of butter in my skillet to make sure the eggs didn't stick too badly. Allow the skillet to preheat for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together in a small bowl:
6 large eggs
About 4 ounces fresh or soft-ripened goat cheese, crumbled
Combine the egg mixture and the sauteed vegetables. Preheat the broiler.
Pour into the preheated cast iron skillet. Stir the eggs gently, making sure you scrape the bottom of the skillet. The goal is to scrape up the cooked egg, allowing the runny, uncooked egg to cook. When the frittata is firm on the bottom but still soft and runny on top, place it under the broiler until it begins to bubble and brown, about 3-4 minutes. Serve with hearty toast and fresh OJ.