Thursday, November 10, 2011

Caramelized Onion Frittata with a side of Bacon-Dressed Spinach

Guest chef Cara McAvoy, sous chef at San Franciso's Chiaroscuro, knows that no matter how crazy busy you are, you need to make time for food:

As we head into the holiday season life is going to get crazy. There are gifts to buy and cards to send and parties to throw and to attend, so I think it is always nice to have a simple meal to put on the table amidst all the insanity. What is more wonderful and simple than an egg? It's protein, it's delicious and it even comes in its own little gift wrapping (how holiday appropriate!).

You know what you can do while you're waiting for your onions to caramelize? Make a bacon & balsamic reduction dressing to toss on some baby spinach. Oh yeah. Now we're talking.

You know who else might want to join this party? Some nice crusty bread smeared with goat cheese.

And there you have it: The perfect supper for this hectic time of year - simple, elegant and satisfying.

Caramelized Onion Frittata
1 large onion
1 small head of fennel
8 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
     1. Preheat your oven to 350degrees.
     2. Thinly slice onion and fennel.
     3. Choose an oven-safe pan for cooking the frittata - coat it with olive oil and add onions and fennel; season with salt & pepper.
     4. Cook on a very low heat to caramelize.  (Caramelizing takes TIME. If you're in an especially big hurry, you can cheat by adding a little sugar and some water to the onions. The sugar gives it flavor and the water helps soften the onions and fennel faster).
     5. When onions and fennel are soft and caramel-colored, whisk eggs in a bowl with a few tablespoons of water, salt and pepper (Water makes the eggs more fluffy!).
     6. Pour eggs on top of the vegetables. Cook on stove top for a minute to give the bottom a nice crunch, and then finish in the oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes 

Warm Spinach Salad with Walnuts and Cranberries
I love salad! Its true. For me, texture is very important in my food and I really enjoy all the wonderful crunchy-ness this salad lends to a meal.

5 slices bacon
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste (rememeber that the bacon will add its own salt!)

     1. Chop bacon into pieces and add to pan to render down.
     2. When bacon is crispy and delicious add in balsamic vinegar and reduce by at least half (When the vinegar hits the pan, the fumes will be very strong, so don't inhale deeply!!).
     3. When vinegar is reduced down to a nice thick consistency add in the honey.
     4. Pour warm dressing over the greens and toss to coat
     5. Top with fruit and nuts...enjoy!


  1. I know, right? Cooking school, dude. It's worth every penny. [Shoot! Which reminds me - this article was written by our guest chef, Cara McAvoy. Retro-attributing now.]