Double-Grilled Summer Vegetable FrittataSteven Raichlen
Grilling 24/7 is one of my bywords and that means fring up the grill for breakfast and brunch as well as for dinner. Which brings me to a dish that’s welcome pretty much anytime, day or night—double-grilled vegetable frittata. Frittata is a cross between an omelet and a quiche, of course, and the first grilling (direct) imparts a smoky char to the vegetables. The second grilling (indirect) cooks the frittata itself. The strategic addition of wood to the fire imparts a smoke favor that transports this Italian classic to the realm of barbecue. Note the use of a grilling grid, grill wok, or wiremesh grill basket to grill the vegetables.
Double-Grilled Summer Vegetable Frittata
- Active Prep: 15 Minutes
- Grill Time: 6 to 10 minutes for the vegetables, plus about 20 minutes for the frittata
- Yield: Serves 4
- Method: Direct Grilling / Indirect Grilling
- Equipment: Can be grilled over charcoal or gas. For even more flavor, you can grill the veggies over wood or a wood-enhanced fire. If you’re enhancing a charcoal or gas fire, you’ll need hardwood chunks or chips (unsoaked). You’ll also need a grill basket, grill wok, or grilling grid; a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet (a 12-incher will work, too, but the frittata will be thinner).
For the Vegetables:
- 4 cups diced vegetables (any or all of the following):
- Asparagus stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Mushrooms, trimmed, wiped clean, and quartered (halved if mushrooms are small)
- Zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- Yellow squash, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- Red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
For the Frittata:
- 8 large eggs, preferably organic
- 1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons thinly slivered or chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, tarragon, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, sage,
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
1: Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high (or build a wood fire). If using a grilling grid or grill wok, preheat it as well.
2: Prepare the vegetables: Place the veggies, including the scallions, in a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a grill basket or add to the preheated grill wok or grilling grid. Don’t overcrowd the grill basket: You may need to work in several batches. Grill, stirring often, until the vegetables are darkly browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool. The vegetables can be grilled ahead or at a previous grill session.
3: Make the frittata: Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl and lightly beat with a whisk or fork. Stir in 1 cup grated cheese, the herbs, grilled vegetables, and salt and pepper to taste.
4: Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in the cast-iron skillet over the side burner on your grill or on your stovetop. Swirl the pan to butter the sides. Add the egg mixture and cook without stirring until the bottom starts to set, about 2 minutes.
5: Move the skillet off the burner and onto the grill grate, away from direct heat (you’ll be indirect grilling from here on out). If enhancing a charcoal fire, add the wood chunks or chips to the coals; if enhancing a gas fire, place the chunks or chips in your grill’s smoker box or place chunks under the grate directly over one or more burners. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Close the grill lid.
6: Cook the frittata until the eggs are set and the top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. (To test for doneness, insert a bamboo skewer in the center of the frittata: It should come out clean.) Remove the skillet from the grill and let it rest for 3 minutes. Run the tip of a slender paring knife around the inside rim of the skillet. Place a large heatproof plate or platter on top. While holding the plate firmly against the skillet’s rim, carefully invert the skillet and plate, giving the former a little shake to loosen the frittata. Lift the skillet: Ideally, the frittata will come loose on the plate. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cut into wedges and serve at once.
You’ll want to use whatever vegetables are freshest and in season. I’ve made some suggestions for a summer frittata. You could also drill down to some classic veggie combinations, like asparagus and corn, mushroom and leek, or tomato and onion. In the cooler months, use winter vegetables like fennel, endive, broccoli or broccolini, and winter squash.