Broccolini, Blue Cheese and Bacon Frittata

Broccoli frittata recipe with bacon and blue cheese
People see the outdoor markets in Paris and think that everyone does their shopping there. But if you work a 9-to-5 jobs, or whatever hours normal people work (ie: not me), it’s hard to take a few hours off to go leisurely pick out your fruits and vegetables – not including the time waiting in line behind madame, selecting the two figs she is buying as if they were royal bijoux, trying to muster a chuckle at the same joke you’ve heard a gazillion times, when you ask to buy “Five lemons,” and they respond – “5 kilos, monsieur?” – which was mildly amusing – perhaps once, but I’m pretty sure no one buys 11 pounds of lemons at the market. And catching up and chatting with my favorite vendors, as I like I do. Especially the sausage dude. #schwing

Broccolini frittata recipe with bacon and blue cheese

In spite of the time it takes to do your shopping, going to the outdoor market in Paris is something that’s very pleasurable for me. I take a good stroll around first, looking at everything before I make my decision. But I do have certain stallholders that I favor for certain things (including sausages), and I often tell visitors: Shop at the same vendors and places over and over again, because once they recognize you, you’ll be treated better. Ditto for going to restaurants and cafés.

One thing isn’t well-represented in Parisian markets are leafy cooking greens. Spinach and giant leaves of Swiss chard tend to be the predominate choices. When I was recently in the states, even in nondescript supermarkets, I saw bunches of kale, mustard, turnip and beet greens, collards, chard, and spinach piled up high in the produce department.

And in Brooklyn, due to the large Italian-American population, there’s broccolini, too, a broccoli hybrid with less bulky stems, and lots more texture and flavor. I love it and even the dumpiest pizza joint in Brooklyn would often have a pizza with wilted broccolini on it. It was tempting to order, instead of my usual pepperoni slice. But I managed to find ways to get broccolini into my diet without sacrificing a single wedge of pie with those crisp disks of spicy sausage baked on top.

Brocolli Frittata with blue cheese and baconBrocolli Frittata with bacon recipe

Frittata is one of my favorite fall-back dishes. As long as you have bits and pieces of things in your refrigerator, and a carton of eggs, you can make a frittata. I had extra broccolini lurking in the produce drawer, a few chunks of blue cheese, and some of bacon which were the makings of this one. The hardest part of making a frittata is working up the nerve the flip it out onto a plate or flat pan lid, like I did, and turning it back over to finish it off. (If using a cast iron skillet, you can run the partially cooked frittata under the broiler, to firm up the top, and skip the flip.)

Brocolli Frittata recipe-7

Speaking of differences between Europe and the states, you want to cook the broccolini to what one might call “European style.” Meaning that you really cook it until it’s soft and tender, for a frittata. Americans tend to cook vegetables to the point where they retain their crunch, whereas in places like Italy and France, vegetables often get cooked until they’re very soft. My friend Judy in Tuscany explains in her cooking classes that Italians cook vegetables twice; once to cook them, and the second to flavor them. For a frittata, you want the vegetables to be about the same texture as the cooked eggs.

Brocolli Frittata with bacon and blue cheese

You can use this recipe as more of a guideline if you want to swap out other ingredients, but the basic technique is the same: Cook your ingredients, pour in some beaten eggs, then cook until the bottom is set. Once it’s three-quarters of the way there, flip it over to cook the other side.

Brocolli Frittata recipe-6

If you have a cast-iron skillet, instead of flipping the frittata, as mentioned, you can run it under the broiler to cook it. Once everything is chopped, the whole process should take more than ten to fifteen minutes, meaning you’ll have dinner on the table in no time. Or if you’ve got friends coming for drinks, you can clean out the refrigerator, and serve a frittata forth, like I did – and no one will be the wiser that it was put together with leftovers. (Well, until they read about it on your blog!)

Broccoli broccolini Frittata recipe with bacon and blue cheese

Broccolini, Bacon and Blue Cheese Frittata
Print Recipe
Six meal-sized servings, twelve appetizer-size servings
Feel free to replace ingredients in the recipe, swapping out some cooked spinach or kale for the broccolini. Since broccolini may not be easy to find, you can use regular broccoli, cauliflower, or another lovely green, such as kale, dandelions, arugula or mustard greens. Broccolini goes by the name of tenderstem broccoli in the UK, I’m told. Broccoli raab is a close relative and could be used, as could rapini. (Check the links after the recipe if you want to learn more about them.) If you’re fortunate to live near a good farmers’ market, snoop around as you might be fortunate to find some green vegetables that lend themselves to being made into a frittata; the people who work the stands are usually very knowledgable about what they grow and how to prepare them. Generally, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked ingredients works for this size frittata. You can add pitted olives, sauteed mushrooms, or another herb, such as dill, oregano, marjoram, or basil. Vegetarians can skip the bacon, or for others, cooked and crumbled/sliced sausage can be used in its place. I didn’t add garlic, but a few chopped cloves added to the broccolini added while it’s cooking is an option, if you wish. Want to go with seafood? Cooked shrimp or smoked salmon would be nice, and feta could stand in for the blue cheese. Whew! I think I covered everything… Frittata is perfect picnic food because it’s just as good served cold or room temperature as it is warm. In Spain, they serve tortillas, as these are called (with potatoes) along with glasses of wine or sherry in tapas bars, as it makes a nice appetizer. I served these in wedges during meal-time, but sliced into bite-sized squares and toothpicks, they make great cocktail party fare.
3 strips (100g) bacon, preferably thick-cut, diced
8 scallions trimmed and sliced, or 1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
1/2 to 3/4 pound (225-340g) broccolini, diced, or broccoli or cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
7 to 8 large eggs
3/4 to 1 cup (100-130g) crumbled blue cheese
1. Steam the diced broccolini in a steamer basket in a covered pot over barely boiling water, until tender all the way through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Put the bacon cubes in a 9- or 10-inch (23-25cm) nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Heat the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp. Set the bacon pieces of a paper towel and drain and pour most of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon behind.
3. Add the scallions (or onions) to the pan and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Add the steamed broccolini and thyme. Season very lightly with salt and pepper (other ingredients are salty, so go easy on the salt). Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook– stirring occasionally – until the broccolini is very soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Mix the eggs in a small bowl, seasoned with a little salt and pepper.
5. Remove the lid from the pan with the broccolini in it and stir in the bacon. Use a spatula or spoon to make sure the ingredients are in a relatively even layer then strew the crumbled cheese over the top. Pour the eggs over the ingredients, then use a utensil to encourage the eggs to get in and around all the ingredients in the pan.
6. Let the frittata cook over medium heat, undisturbed, until the bottom is browned and set. You can use a spatula to lift it up once the bottom is set to check on its progress. (Make sure it’s not burning!) It will take about 7 minutes, but might take a more or less.
7. Run a spatula around the edge of the frittata to loosen it from the pan and slide it onto a dinner plate or overturned flat pan lid, so the cooked side is on the bottom. Overturn the skillet over the frittata and quickly flip the frittata back in the pan, so the cooked side is now on top. Cook the frittata another minute or two, until the bottom is cooked. (If using a cast iron skillet, instead of flipping the frittata, you can run it under the broiler a minute or two to cook the top.)
8. Slide the frittata onto a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature.

Related Links and Recipes

Broccolini vs Broccoli raab vs Rapini (Good Stuff NW)

Broccoli Raab, Rapini, Broccolini: What’s the Difference? (The Savory)

Alice Waters’ Long-Cooked Broccoli (Serious Eats)

Go soft on broccoli and cauliflower (Russ Parsons/LA Times)

Green Nonstick Cookware

Kimchi Omelet

Kale Frittata

 


Never miss a post!

34 comments

  • Annette
    May 11, 2015 9:38am

    This looks really good! Btw, if you really only want 1/2 lbs of broccolini, that would be 225 g – but maybe you want more?
    Question: I am stingy with my expensive Stilton and St Agur – which blue cheese do you use for your baking?

    • May 11, 2015 9:54am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks. It’s about 3/4 pound that I used and I updated that with the correct amount in grams. I don’t remember what cheese this was but I usually use a lesser-priced blue cheese for cooking, since flavors in more expensive cheeses like Stilton and Roquefort are often best appreciated on their own. In France, a bleu d’Auvergne or fourme d’Ambert are reasonably priced options.

  • august
    May 11, 2015 1:38pm

    All this talk about the sausage man and no picture of him or sausage? Maybe its time to do a recipe for cassoulet? I noticed you don’t have one yet in your recipe section.

    • May 11, 2015 1:49pm
      David Lebovitz

      People in Paris are pretty bashful about having their picture taken. So I’ll keep him for myself ; ) I put my recipe for Cassoulet in My Paris Kitchen, if you want to give one a try!

  • May 11, 2015 2:43pm

    I love what your friend says about cooking vegetables! “Italians cook vegetables twice; once to cook them, and the second to flavor them.” I think I get too caught up on the health of a vegetable sometimes and lose sight of the flavor of the vegetable.

  • John
    May 11, 2015 4:01pm

    Could you use grated Parmesan cheese in place of blue? I’m substituting sausage, spinach, arugula since it’s what I have on hand. Really looking forward to lunch… Thanks David!

  • Kate
    May 11, 2015 4:03pm

    Oh yum, I love love love frittata! This one sounds so delicious!

    Kate

  • Bebe
    May 11, 2015 4:47pm

    In the United States, Trader Joe’s stocks good quality blue cheese at reasonable prices. It will always cost more than more other more ordinary cheeses, but it’s worth it!

  • Cathy
    May 11, 2015 5:19pm

    Love a frittata. I once enjoyed one at au cafe with feta, mint and potatoes and think a courgette might be a good addition to that.

  • May 11, 2015 5:23pm

    I love frittata! I have never tried one with blue chese but am going to do this for next weekend’s breakfast. Your photos are so enticing!

  • Chris
    May 11, 2015 5:32pm

    “…in places like Italy and France, vegetables often get cooked until they’re very soft.”

    It must be a matter of perspective! I remember watching Julia Child cook green beans “the French way” in the 1960s. She actually inspired my southern-born mother to try NOT cooking them to mush.

  • Debra
    May 11, 2015 5:45pm

    Oh, looks yummy, and paleo-friendly. Merci!

  • May 11, 2015 5:47pm
    David Lebovitz

    Cathy: If you plan to use zucchini, you should definitely cook (and perhaps squeeze) as much water out as you can. Mint sounds lovely in it!

    Chris: All the green beans I’ve had in France, in restaurants and in homes, have been well-cooked. (As in, completely cooked through with no crunch.) Much more so than we do in the U.S. It took me a while to get use to it because I grew up, and always ate, vegetables that were still a bit crisp to the bite. There is an interesting book about Richard Olney meeting Julia Child and he wasn’t happy with the way she was presenting French cuisine outside of France. (Some of it is discussed in the book, Provence 1970.)

    Bebe: Yes, they do. They also have good dairy products that are harder to find elsewhere. But there are some good domestic blue cheese in the United States that you can find in supermarkets.

  • May 11, 2015 5:51pm

    This looks great and I can imagine all those wonderful flavors coming together. A nice substantial breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  • May 11, 2015 6:04pm

    Although most of the time I prefer the vegetables a bit less cooked with more ‘life’ in them, some dishes just call for mushy vegetables….it just works sometimes. I guess in fritata excessively crunchy broccolini would make the dish a bit less cohesive?

  • May 11, 2015 6:32pm

    Man… that cheese looks good!

  • Querino de Freitas
    May 11, 2015 7:09pm

    Frittata is a fab,and simple dish to make……..no need to flip and flap,just place the skillet in a hot oven,,,with foil covering the handle ,and one has the best bronze top you will ever see….mmmmmmmm..thanks Querino

  • Linn
    May 11, 2015 8:59pm

    I read in NYTimes recipe where they used yogurt instead of cheese for an Iranian style frittata — going to try that since it’s all I have on hand and I’m not supposed to eat a lot of cheese….

  • elena
    May 11, 2015 9:44pm

    I never had Frittata,but in the coming weekend I will make this recepie.
    It looks too good!

    Thank you!

  • Luciana
    May 11, 2015 9:59pm

    Have you ever seen mustard greens at markets in Paris? If so, do share!

    • Luciana
      May 11, 2015 11:46pm

      Collard greens as well. Miss them in my diet.

  • Linnet Harlan
    May 11, 2015 10:00pm

    If you’re trying to get more greens in your life, don’t forget turnip greens. Last week at the Bastille Market, there was a vendor with lovely white turnips with the greens still on them, though he’d take them off if you preferred.

    I steam them for a few minutes, until they are wilted, and then eat them with a olive oil and a little vinegar. Yum. Save any water from the steaming and either drink it (also yum) or use it in a soup base for a soup with lots of vegetables.

  • Sarahb1313
    May 11, 2015 11:35pm

    Ah, that looks scrumptious! Especially that darn cheese!
    At work today I hot-plate cooked a psuedo fritatta- and yes, with St Agur blue!! Makes everything just divine. Brocilinin might just work out well- I can fully cook it ahead of time…
    I am just grateful you didn’t post a pic of an icy glass of Rosé- I can’t have that at work!!

  • Meredy
    May 12, 2015 12:44am

    This sounds not only wonderful but doable by a nonexpert like me.

    One point of confusion, though: the description says add ingredients to the eggs (“Cook you ingredients, take them out, pour some beaten eggs into the pan, add back the cooked ingredients, then cook until the bottom is set.”), and the recipe and photo say add eggs to the ingredients already in the pan. Can you really do it either way?

    I love your blog and your books. Many thanks!

  • May 12, 2015 12:46am

    I love frittata! I just received a cast iron skillet from my grandmother and can’t wait to try the no-flip technique.

  • Rita Bowman
    May 12, 2015 1:08am

    David,
    I love, love, love your blog, your recipes, your writing style! Thank you for brightening my day.
    Rita

  • Frito1
    May 12, 2015 2:36am

    Yum, I made it tonight; a home run!! I’ve never combined blue cheese and eggs so was a leap of faith for me. The saltiness of the bacon and the bitterness of the broccolini were a perfect balance. Thank you David!

  • Oonagh
    May 12, 2015 3:53am

    #schwing just cracked me right up, thanks for that! x

  • May 12, 2015 4:29am

    Like others, I’ve never made a Frittata. Try not to laugh, Honey-Bunches, but at first glance I thought you were making a fancy omelette.

    Good heavens, bite me off a piece of that beautiful cheese! That hunk-of-a-chunk is gorgeous.

    Before you wrote about being able to eat it cold, I was already dreaming of how yummy it would be, chilled and ready on the run.

    ((Have you ever eaten cooked beet greens? OMG! Simply to die for. I understand radish tops are edible, as well, but I haven’t tried them yet.)

  • May 12, 2015 7:06am

    this frittata looks just lovely. thanks for sharing!

  • May 13, 2015 12:07am

    I’m totally humbled by the shoutout for my post on broccolini linked above. I’ve been a longtime admirer. Thanks, David!

  • Jeanne
    May 13, 2015 5:50pm

    I am sitting having a drink looking at out at Kinnerett (Galilee) and reading about a frittata. Perferct.

  • Sunday Skaer
    May 29, 2015 3:02pm

    I make fritattas at least once a week, mid-week for dinner. This is definitely on the menu for this week. Thank you!

  • Mia
    May 30, 2015 6:15am

    Made this for my family for Sunday brunch – served with an Italian Franciacorta, to celebrate summer – a Rose would be nice also. Toasted crostini with a bit of butter blended with the blue – wonderful! So easy – a hit with everyone, even the 20 month old wanted more.