Spring is upon us, and with it, asparagus and pretty purple spring onions and chives and soft greens and the first strawberries. Here in Northern California, the sky has been a brilliant blue and the days warm and full of sun that lingers into evening. Rhubarb will be coming soon, and fresh peas and fava beans and chickpeas, and so much more. All of these are harbingers of what is to come—the brightness of springtime, first, then summer in all its glory.
Every year, I love spring more. Even in California, where the winters aren’t harsh in the slightest, it brings the promise of newness and life, with little fresh things peeping out from the dirt and evening revelers congregating by the lake to watch the sunset. I’ve long been enamored with the way spring enlivens us, gives us the hopeful reminder that the seasons always change, the cold will give way to warmth, the good and bad both ebb and flow. My parents were just visiting from Michigan, and their enthusiasm about the sunlight and warmth and overflowing stalls of the farmers market reminded me how extraordinary all of this is for those who’ve gone through a long, cold, dark winter—and how it could be the same for all of us.
We’re better for being captivated by the season, I think, and I’m charmed by the shared enthusiasm: those lakeside revelers, my coworkers who sit on the pavement outside at lunchtime, diners filling restaurants’ outdoor tables. The shared joys seem to be the sweetest. I was writing this post, waxing poetic about spring’s bounty and thinking about frittatas, and I popped over to see if my friend Kimberley had anything new on her blog, just to give myself a little writing break. As it turns out, what she posted earlier today conveys what I’ve been trying to say about springtime…and greens and eggs to boot! (I swear, Kimberley, I’ve been planning this for days! Kindred spirits, indeed.)
I made this spring frittata for brunch a couple of weekends ago, serving it with a green salad and hearty toasts topped with smashed avocado and with walnut butter and jam. Our friends Rita and Gerard were in town for a few days, coming, like my parents, from the Midwestern chill. I’d been prematurely paging through the springtime section of Megan‘s book to look for inspiration for that weekend’s meals and stumbled upon this recipe.
Frittatas have always felt like spring to me. Perhaps it’s because those soft springtime greens and herbs fold so easily into eggs, or because a frittata boasts the simplicity I crave come warm weather, or because eggs themselves can taste as fresh and new as spring. Or maybe my subconscious knew about the Persian New Year…? Regardless, this is a lovely recipe for the season, and a flexible one that is forgiving of what has not yet sprung up from the ground. I hope you’ll try it in celebration of whatever hints of spring have come your way.
Spring Vegetable & Farro Frittata
Adapted from Megan Gordon’s Whole-Grain Mornings
Serves 4 to 6
Megan’s original recipe calls for asparagus; I used leeks and shiitake mushrooms instead. Aim for about 1 pound of whatever spring vegetable you choose. Asparagus should be sliced into bite-sized pieces, artichokes sliced thinly, leeks and garlic scapes diced small and mushrooms cut in half. Megan notes that a few fava beans would be an excellent addition as well, and I think that sounds delightful.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallot (about 1 large shallot)
1 pound spring vegetables, such as asparagus, leeks, mushrooms, baby artichokes and/or garlic scapes, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cooked and cooled farro
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, spring vegetables and peas if using fresh. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the heartiest vegetable is just tender. Season with a generous pinch of salt. If using thawed frozen peas, add them now. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir in the farro, then pour the mixture directly into the skillet, nudging the veggies around so that they’re evenly distributed throughout the frittata.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the frittata is set, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then, loosen the edges with a spatula and slice into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be saved, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.