COOKING ADVENTURE # 13: Sausage and Green Pepper Frittata
Frittata: the name of this recipe oozes easiness. After all, it’s eggs, a combination of vegetables and meat, cheese, and herbs. It’s something that anyone should be able to make along with an omelet. So, why do I get the feeling that I’ve messed up this ridiculously easy dish? Maybe because it was supposed to have been out of the oven about ten minutes ago and its… well… still cooking.
There are any number of frittata recipes that one can choose. The library was quite extensive and I almost wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I finally decided on the sausage and green pepper combination because it’s one of my favorites. I especially enjoy it on pizza. I look back on this now and ask myself why couldn’t I have chosen something like chicken? Or perhaps steak? Something less… involved. Or, why hadn’t I just bought the ground sausage like any normal person? Oh. That’s right. Because it’s in my nature to unintentionally make things as difficult as possible for myself.
My first step was to crumble the sausage into a ten inch skillet to brown. Well, easier said than done. The Italian sausage that I’d bought was still frozen. Again, foresight isn’t my friend. I thawed the links in the microwave and then set them out on the counter, ready to cut them. Then, I realized my error. The recipe didn’t say to put cut pieces of sausage. In fact, it said nothing about the sausage being in a casing. It said “crumble.” Such an evil little word for what happened next.
Not since Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train have I experienced such horror at the prospect of cutting meat. I almost want to save you, the reader, from my re-telling of the awful event. So I’ll make this brief. I had to cut the casing for each sausage link, and… oh yes, you guessed it… remove the insides. Now that you’re imagining this scene, please insert Paradise by Coldplay and you’ll have the entirety of the scene. That was unfortunately playing in the background at the time… and I’ll never be able to listen to it the same again. By the time that was over, I’d drawn up a solemn oath that it would be at least a few weeks before I ever touched sausage again. This is unfortunate because I realized I still had some left in my freezer. Damn it.
I cleansed my hands of the disgusting meat pieces and quickly heated my cast iron pan up on the stove top with some oil in it. Then, I dumped the sausage into it. The oil hissed and spit at me as it fried the meat. Even worse, it now looked like brain-matter…(I’m sorry but I couldn’t keep that one to myself.) I turned away from it, needing to not have it in my line of sight for at least a few minutes. This was fine because it took practically fifteen minutes to cook it anyway. I turned my attention to slicing up the green pepper. The original recipe calls for two. I’m glad that I only used one. When I added it to the sausage in the pan, there was almost too much. It was like little green men invading a field of little sizzling critters.
As those heated up in the pan, I went about breaking the eggs. The recipe calls for 12. I will repeat that. It calls for 12 EGGS. A DOZEN EGGS. I frowned at this recipe and looked at my frying pan. It was a 10 inch so… the recipe must be right, right? I pulled out my carton of eggs and cracked the first one on the side of the mixing bowl. I then tried to pull it apart. However, this egg had a shell with the strength of titanium. It did not want to break. In fact, it chipped and dropped tiny shards of eggshell into the bowl instead. I then spent the next few minutes picking them out. This happened again with the second egg. By the time I got to egg #7, I was seriously doubting the food.com recipe. I stopped there. I added 1/4 cup of water and some salt and then whisked everything together.
Next, I pulled out my bag of mozzarella from the fridge and added a cup of it to the egg. Then I continued stirring. I bought the cheese already shredded because I didn’t want to have to grate it myself… Matilda is in time-out from her part in my last adventure. Then, I added some parsley and black pepper to the mix, managing to sprinkle my counter with both. If that wasn’t enough, the pan with the sausage had spit oil all over my counter and stove top. What a fantastic mess I had to clean up later.
When the sausage and pepper were cooked, I looked once more between the pan and my mixing bowl. And I added another egg to the bowl… just in case. Then, I tipped the mixing bowl and poured the egg into the pan. The egg came first. The mozzarella came next. It landed in a heap in the center of the pan. I quickly snatched a fork from the dish-drainer and tried to spread it out as evenly as possible.
While I waited for the egg to cook on the bottom and the sides of the pan, I washed up the dishes. And of course, I was rewarded with a clogged sink. Hoo-ray.
The frittata was supposed to stay in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes. When the timer went off, I checked it and recoiled in fear. It still looked wet. I closed the oven door and put the timer on for another two minutes. When I checked it again, it looked as though it had set up. I flipped off the oven, removed the pan, and prodded at it with a knife. The knife met no resistance and slid through to a semi-set inside. Once again, I put the pan back in the extinguished oven and allowed it to sit for another five minutes.
At some point while I was writing this, I removed the pan and cut myself a piece of frittata. It sat on the plate, boring, plain looking. This frittata was like the Ben Stein of recipes. I couldn’t even take a picture of it on the plate. There was just… no way to make it look good. And when I tasted it, I soon realized that perhaps a pinch of salt wasn’t quite enough for this recipe. Very bland. I should have added more spices to it. Oh well. That’s the business of learning to cook, I suppose. If only all of that traumatic meat shredding was worth it… *sigh* I think for a little while I’ll have to say nada to frittata. At least until I feel like practicing it again.
Next week, I’ll be attempting a Spanish recipe! Preferably something without meat… Apple Cinnamon Empanadas are next week’s challenge!