Friday, June 23, 2006

Zucchini and Fennel Frittata -Perfect picnic alternative



When the June weather is so perfectly warm and the days are nice and long, there is nothing we like doing more than getting on our bikes and taking a tour along the Ilm river. Of course, the bicycle tour would not be complete with a long stop at an idyllic place on the river banks underneath a huge oak tree. And certainly not complete if I had not packed a scrumptious picnic basket.

Oh yes! I would have to hear the complaints from my two men! Both would not mind the simple sandwiches and raw vegies and dip picnic, but there are times when I like to take a special treat and surprise them with it. It still has to be simple enough to carry in a backpack on the bike but a little more exclusive than the ham sandwich.

I think a nice spongy frittata is a perfect alternative to take on picnics. A chilled white wine for the adults and some cool lemonade for the kids and a nice crispy baguette - a picnic hit all around.

I like experimenting with different types of fillings for the frittata and this time I found great recipe in one of my very old magazines that I collected during my pregnancy leave. It used green asparagus. Unfortunately green asparagus was not available at the market and I had to re-think my plan! I decided for a different combination of vegetables and herbs.




Ingredients:

300g Zucchini - cut in half lengthwise then in slices
200g fennel - thinly sliced
1 medium onion - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1 cup chervil - finely chopped
8 eggs
150 g cream
salt and pepper
100g parmesan - grated
2-4 tablespoons olive oil






Method:

Pre-heat oven at 150°C.

Whisk the eggs and cream together. Add the chervil and 40g of the grated parmesan to the mixture and whisk further. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a large frying pan sauté the onions and garlic in some of the olive oil. Add the vegetables and sauté for a further few minutes - approx. 3-4 minutes.

Grease a casserole dish with the rest of the oil and spread the vegetables evenly. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with the remainder of the parmesan cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool and cut in cubes.




Verdict:
"Nice one mum!" was Soeren's comment with a mouthful of the frittata. I know fennel is not everyone's favorite vegie, but somehow Soeri was not complaining in any way. Tom was happy that I had come up with a great idea as he actually was not in the mood for sandwiches. He really enjoyed the fresh herby taste the chervil gave the frittata. Chervil is a great herb and I do admit one that I use to seldom in my cooking.
I had made a fairly large casserole dish and was very glad that the container was empty, when I got back on my bike ;-)

As I found this to be a perfect picnic dish I thought it would make a perfect entry to the theme of the Weekend Cookbook Challenge # 6 Picnic.

Furthermore, a nice herby recipe to enter to the Weekend Herb Blogging, this time being hosted closer to my shores - in France at Absolutely Green.

Entry also for Cate's great ARF 5 A Day Tuesday.



Just a quick reminder to everyone: This month's Monthly Mingle theme is Big on Barbecue. The deadline is July 8th. Get those barbecues hot, sizzling and give me your best recipe!

14 comments :

  1. A good and originale alternative to sandwitches. I love fennel, so I'm not afraid of this ingredients. I hope you'll post one day the asparagus version.

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  2. Mmmm, that looks so good. It will be a great addition to the WCC!

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  3. Looks totally delish, and we're egg-aholics around here. Question: What is chervil? Should I be looking in the produce section, herbs, seafood, what?

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  4. Virgine, Nice of you to stop by. I love to try out different things when we go picnicing. Whatsmore this is a great recipe to get fennel into my men!!

    Laura, yes. I thought so too. It is an easy thing to cut up and take along in containers.

    Talena, Chervil is a herb. If I was to describe it I would say it looked like baby parsley. It is something I have not used very often and when I was looking through our herb section on the market I thought let's try this one out.Letme know what you thought of the recipe.

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  5. Meeta would love to take a bite of the frittata!we use fennel seeds regularly in our cooking but never used the herb as it is!

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  6. Brilliant picnic food!

    Again Meeta another of your recipes hits all the right notes!

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  7. Sumi, it's a lovely vegetable and I love sneaking it into salads and other dishes. My men would outrageously complain if they knew but when they don't ... well it won't hurt them ;-)

    Pam, Like I keep tellin you ... we have got to move next door to eachother. That is the only solution to our dilemma!

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  8. What a gorgeous frittata!
    Thank you so much for submitting this to the weekend cookbook challenge! :)

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  9. I don't know if I've ever tasted chervil. Must get some!! I love the sound of this.

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  10. Sadly, I was unable to find fennel or chervil in my local grocery store. So, I guess I will only be able to enjoy this recipe in my imagination. Sigh. It looks too yummy. Stop taking such mouth-watering pictures will ya? Or maybe I should just go get a snack...

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  11. Talena,

    Don't give up so easily! Try the same recipe with other herbs/vegies. Originally, my recipe was with green asparagus but I could not find any so I improvised and used fennel and zucchini. As for the herb try basel or coriander leaves. Then YOU take some lovely pics and post it on your blog and make MY mouth water!! What do ya think?

    Kalyn, the chervil was quite delightful. Ever since I used that in the frittata I have come across a few more recipes with this herb. So I'll be trying those out for WHB in the future.

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  12. Looks wonderful! Did you save me a piece?

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  13. I love frittatas and love fennel, so I definitely have to try this combination.

    Thanks for sharing.

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Meeta