Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Outdoor Dining, Margaret O'Sullivan; Miniature Frittatas

I am a sucker for impulse purchases. Interstingish looking things, attractively displayed near a line I'm apt to be standing in for a while? I'll pick them up. I'll peruse. And I may well buy. For a lot of folks, this is how magazines, chewing gum, and odd pastry items end up in the house. For me? It's cookbooks. And so it happened that I was standing in a Williams Sonoma, flipping through Outdoor Dining, by Margaret O'Sullivan (Lansdowne Publishing Pty Ltd, 1995). The cover shows miniature smoked salmon frittatas, and every page inside hints at the sort of life where finely crafted picnics just sort of happen.

I had to buy it.

And a good thing I am such a light touch for the marketers! This is a great cookbook; I've prepared lots of the dishes, and keep meaning to try more. They all turn out. They're all tasty. And, as we're officially in Summer (Observed) now that Memorial Day has passed, and I've my first outdoor concert of the season to go to next week, it seems time to take out this old favorite.
Miniature Frittatas

4 oz (125 g) smoked salmon, finely chopped
3 oz (90 g) goat cheese, crumbled
fresh chives, chopped
6 eggs
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) single (light) cream

These miniature frittatas make a great picnic starter -- serve them with chilled champagne. You can vary the fillings: chopped artichoke hearts, prosciutto, asparagus tips, Ratatouille (page 23), sautéed mushrooms or leek, or smoked salmon and goat cheese as combined here.

Grease a 12 cup cake (patty cake) pan. Divide the smoked salmon, goat cheese, and chives between the cups.

Lightly beat the eggs with the cream and pour into the cups.

Bake in a moderately hot oven (400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6) for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Turn onto a cake cooler and serve at room temperature.

Serves 4-6
I use a mini muffin tin when I make these; depending on your pan and how much stuff you stuff into your frittatas, your baking time will vary, so keep an eye on them. As the recipe suggests, these work with just about anything. Don't like goat cheese? Plop in some other cheese that does suit. Try cooked, peeled baby shrimp instead of the salmon. Whatever you have just a bit of left in the fridge is fair game.

I tend to prefer dry-smoked smoked salmon to wet, so I go for some nice, thick, crumbly reminds-me-of-Oregon salmon as opposed to more elegant thin slices of fish. Use that which makes you happy.

I've made these for brunches -- they're a star of my traditional Thanksgiving parade-is-on-TV breakfast -- and for dinner parties. They're always a hit. The only time they've come close to failing is when I was working with an unfamiliar oven and insufficiently prepped my pans. Grease them well, folks.

Many of the recipes in Outdoor Dining have menu suggestions in the sidebar -- this one is no exception:

Miniature Fritattas
Barbecued Double Lamb Cutlets with Ratatouille (page 23)
Honey Wafers (page 51)
One could do worse.

In a quasi-related note, I evidently can't type "miniature" without first mistyping it as "minature."


  1. Wow. I really want to come to one of your picnics. ;)

    Those sound like mini bites of heaven.

  2. They're really quite tasty. If you want to dress them up for a fancy party, a dollop of crème fraîche goes great on top, and a smidge of caviar on top of that is sublime!