Last night, I was browsing around, looking for various recipes that used cast iron skillets. I can feel it in my bones – I’m going to be doing a lot of cooking with cast iron in the future. Since Laura and I hadn’t yet planned anything for dinner, I decided to search for something that would put our only ingredients to use. Eggs, potatoes, parsley, cheese and a few more small items. When I stumbled upon something called “Frittata Lyonnaise,” my eyes lit up. They lit up especially because this frittata was prepared using a 10″ cast iron pan. I’m not sure what it is, but something inside me tells me that this type of cooking is the wave of the future (or the past). Anyway, I read through the recipe and decided that it was something I could definitely handle.
Have you ever wondered what the term “Lyonnaise” means? I’ve seen this word all over the place since I was a kid and always thought it was something extravagant. Really, it’s simply, well…read this:
Lyonnaise cuisine refers to cooking traditions and practices centering on the area around the French city of Lyon.
Recipes with the terms “Lyonnaise” in it merely translate into something that takes advantage of certain types of ingredients and specific methods of cooking. Ingredients that were local to Lyon and skills that were inherent to Florentine cooks. Extraordinary. I truly enjoy learning about culinary history.
This recipe can be prepared rather quickly. It uses basic ingredients and can be on your table in no time. While there is some prep work, it’s all done early on, so you can watch your creation come to life in the oven without having to concern yourself with tasks that would otherwise distract you.
The original recipe calls for using a 10″ skillet and 8 eggs. I used a 12″ skillet and 12 eggs. I’ve modified the ingredient list to coincide with the changes accordingly. I highly encourage you to give this recipe a try – it looks elegant after it’s plated, but it’s rustic enough to be fun. And any time you get to use a cast iron skillet and an oven simultaneously is time well spent.
2 Tablespoons Pure Olive Oil
5 Medium-Large Potatoes Diced into 1/2″ Cubes
1 Large Onion Chopped
1 Garlic Clove Crushed
12 Large Eggs
1 Cup Swiss Cheese Shredded
1/3 Cup Half-and-Half
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley Chopped
Regular Table Salt
Ground Black Pepper
As I mentioned above, you want to take care of all your prep work early on. The last thing you should be doing is mixing eggs and other ingredients together as your potatoes over-cook in boiling water. Things come together fast, so it’s crucial that attention is paid to what’s going on.
With your favorite garlic crusher, go ahead and crush the 1 clove of garlic. If you don’t have a crusher, you can use a chef’s knife or simply finely mince the clove.
For this step, I followed my rule of adding to the amount of parsley that was originally called for in the recipe. I’ve found that chefs never add enough, so I chopped up a tab bit more than the 1/4 cup that’s necessary for this dish.
For this recipe, I used flat parsley. You can use either flat or curly. I merely used what I had in the refrigerator.
The original recipe calls for Gruyère cheese, which is wicked expensive. For a weekday night recipe, you’ll most definitely want to substitute for something else. In my case, I had a nice chunk of really good Swiss sitting in the refrigerator just waiting for a moment like this, so I shredded 1 cup of it. In case you’re interested in what you can use in place of the original, here’s a good discussion on the topic:
For this recipe, I used a huge sweet onion. Since onions reduce in size over heat, I wasn’t worried about it taking over the dish. Go ahead and chop the onion in medium sized pieces.
After scrubbing 5 medium to large sized potatoes, dice them into 1/2″ pieces. Store in a bowl for later use. Don’t worry about using too much in the way of potatoes. Remember, filling up a 12″ cast iron skillet is tough to do. Since I had some leftover Yukon Gold potatoes, that’s what I used.
Measure Out Half-and-Half
Since we’re really taking advantage of the concept of mise en place with this recipe, I even measured out the 1/3 cup of half-and-half.
If you’ve ever dealt with potatoes in a recipe before, you may have bumped into the issue where they were still rock hard after all the cooking was completed. For some reason, many recipe writers either don’t understand or choose to ignore the concept of softening potatoes before cooking them. Since the recipe I used to prepare this dish was created by one of those writers, I decided to use an alternative technique than the one that was presented. To soften and slightly cook the diced potatoes, I placed them into a large pot.
I just covered the potatoes in cold water and placed the pot over high heat until everything came to a boil. I boiled for about 3-5 minutes until the potatoes became slightly soft. I tested their softness by pulling pieces out with a fork and attempting to pierce their flesh. Once I could easily slide my fork into the potato, I considered them cooked enough for use in this recipe. I didn’t over-cook them because by doing so, I would have made them too soft for later on.
Once they were finished in the water, I strained them in my colander.
Pre-Heat Oven & Cast Iron Skillet
This is a double pre-heat step. Go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Also, on your stove top, pre-heat your 12″ cast iron skillet over medium heat. You’ll want to give the skillet at least 5 minutes of heat before using it. This is standard for cast iron. Also, at this point, you can add the 2 tablespoons of pure olive oil. Not extra-virgin – pure.
Isn’t that cast iron a beautiful sight? I think so. Notice how I swirled the oil so it covered about half way up the sides of the pan? You should do that too. It’ll stop some of the potential sticking later.
Crack Eggs into Bowl
Take the entire dozen eggs and crack them, one by one, into a large bowl.
Mix Ingredients into Eggs
At this point, you can mix the eggs together with the 1/3 cup of half-and-half.
After that, add in the shredded cheese and parsley.
Finally, mix all the ingredients in the bowl thoroughly. You can also add a pinch of salt and pepper for flavor.
Add Potatoes to Skillet
Once the skillet is warm, add the diced potatoes to it.
Cook over medium heat, while periodically turning potatoes with a spatula, for about 5 minutes.
Add Onion & Garlic
After the potatoes have cooked on the stove top for 5 minutes, go ahead and add all the chopped onion and crushed garlic.
Again, turn with a spatula occasionally and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
Add Egg, Cheese & Parsley
After the onion and garlic is soft, add the egg, cheese and parsley mixture to the cast iron skillet. Evenly pour the ingredients right on top of what’s already in the pan.
When the mixture is in the skillet, cook over medium heat on the stove top for about 2 minutes. During this time, don’t disturb the ingredients. This step firms up the bottom of the frittata.
Place Skillet in Warm Oven
By this time, the oven should be heated to temperature. After the 2 minutes on the stove top, place the skillet on the center rack of the oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes. During this time, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the color of the frittata. Once it’s golden brown, you’ll know to remove it from heat.
The Final Product
I think this dish came out really good. Laura and I enjoyed it very much for dinner last night. Since I liked it so much and since I love cast iron, I think this style of cooking is going to become a theme on this site. Especially since I just found a cast iron recipe book that’s put out by Lodge, the cast iron makers. It’s got some serious recipes in it that I’d love to share.
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