First, a confession: this frittata was merely a convenient way for me to consume my latest discovery, lamb’s quarters.
I picked up lamb’s quarters from the Union Square Greenmarket last weekend completely on a whim. I’d simply stood in front of a row of bins of greens and picked the one with the most appealing name. Lamb’s quarters is a pretty cute name, isn’t it? Apparently, it’s also known as pigweed. If I had seen that on the sign, well, you wouldn’t be reading a blog post about pigweed.
Lamb’s quarters is my introduction to the world of wild edibles… otherwise known as weeds. Hahaha. But seriously, I actually really love the idea of eating the stuff because I see them as just another form of heirlooms. Because they’re considered noxious, they’re underrated, local, not mass-farmed, not cultivated in any way… and the properties about them which make them unique are preserved. The purity of their taste, smell, feel, appearance is retained.
I intend to explore this plant realm more fully.
Lamb’s quarters actually grows like crazy. Apparently it’s all over Central Park, although it’s easily confused with epazote, which is toxic if eaten in large quantities. It’s incredibly healthy, full of beta carotene, calcium, potassium, iron. It even leaves behind that same chalky feeling on your teeth after you eat spinach. Coincidentally, it’s often referred to as wild spinach and is said to taste like it. I wouldn’t agree exactly; it’s definitely more of an acquired taste, especially when eaten raw.
But in a frittata, it’s excellent. Its lovely, fuzzy, silvery leaves turn a bright green when sauteed, and it shrinks dramatically, just like, yup, that’s right, spinach. But it’s hardier, with sturdier stems, so less can go a longer way than its domesticated cousin. Because we’re talking frittatas here, you can throw in just about anything to accompany the lamb’s quarters. I decided to throw in some bacon at the last minute, which sort of clashed with the romano cheese—perhaps cheddar might be a better complement. Whatever the case, treat the plant like spinach and you’ll be eating it like a pro!
LAMB’S QUARTERS FRITTATA
Basic recipe adapted from Alton Brown’s frittata recipe
6 large eggs
5 Tbsp grated cheese (I used romano)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter
3 strips bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
1/4 lb. lamb’s quarters, with tough stems removed (you can substitute spinach, but you’ll need more, 1/2 lb. or so)
Turn oven on to broil. Whisk together eggs, cheese, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, then set aside.
In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet (I used my cast-iron), saute onions until translucent (2 to 3 minutes), then add bacon and saute another minute. Add the lamb’s quarters and cook until wilted, 2 minutes or so. Spread out the contents of the pan so it’s even across the pan. Pour the egg mixture in, and spread it across the pan with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and is beginning to set on top.
Transfer the skillet into the oven and broil for 3 or 4 minutes until top is lightly browned.