recipe

Zucchini flower and goat’s cheese frittata

Karen Martini is a chef, restaurateur, author and television presenter. She is a food editor of The Saturday Paper. @karen_martini

The early memories I have of zucchinis are in my grandmother’s garden in Benalla. I used to pick the flowers and leave the zucchinis, just because I liked how they looked. My grandmother might have been a little annoyed, but can a granddaughter do anything wrong?

I was at the Kent Hotel in Melbourne when I found out you could eat them. I was cooking with Rita Macali and her family were very in sync with what to use, when and how. The window for zucchini flowers used to be small and they would usually come from someone’s garden. When we had them, we used them everywhere – on pasta, in frittata, as a pizza topping.

Frittata had a bad reputation at that time, mostly because it was a dish in which any sad old vegetables could be hidden. Cooking time was also often to blame. The egg should be just set, like custard, not cooked until leathery. Done right, it’s a place to showcase subtle flavours and produce at its best.

This frittata has been very popular in our home fridge. I will put a big plate in there and the girls will come and cut off pieces. I’m pretty sure my husband, Michael, is eating it too, even though he says he doesn’t eat frittata. I’ve seen him hide it in a crusty roll, with some basil leaves or just oil – a classic Italian style.

Ingredients

Time: 75 minutes + 20 minutes resting

Serves 6-8

  • 500g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes, to make 300g cooked pumpkin
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 white zucchinis, cut into batons
  • 12 free-range eggs
  • 100ml cream
  • 250g goat’s cheese
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 6 zucchini flowers, torn, and the small zucchinis, sliced into rounds
  • 6 dill sprigs
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  2. Toss the pumpkin lightly in some oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a lined baking tray. Do the same for the zucchini batons and place on a separate tray. Bake both for 30 minutes, or until well-cooked. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a medium-sized bowl, then whisk in the cream. Stir in the pumpkin and zucchini and season to taste.
  4. Warm your ovenproof pan – cast iron is best – for four minutes over medium heat on the stovetop and add lots of olive oil.
  5. Pour the egg and vegetable mixture into the pan to get the crust started, add the goat’s cheese in chunks with the frozen peas, then sprinkle in the dill, zucchini flowers and baby zucchini rounds.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. You are after a set custard consistency. It will keep cooking as it cools, so take care not to overcook.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Serve warm or cold with a green leaf salad.
  8. A drizzle of scorched honey would lift the dish even further, if you wish.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on December 16, 2023 as "Hello, blossoms!".

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