Frittata with Caramelized Garlic, Butternut Squash & Aleppo
One thing I get asked about all the time is how to incorporate spices into your every day foods. I write here a lot about “exotic” spices or ingredients, and the reality is I do cook with them all of the time. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion. It doesn’t even have to be an overtly ethnic dish. I like the foods everyone else does, but I tend to add a little something extra to them.
This frittata with caramelized garlic (like savoury candy!) and butternut squash is the perfect example. Wait, I need to reiterate how ridiculously delicious caramelized garlic is. This recipe is exact, but I encourage you to double the garlic portion and save half for other dishes later in the week – it’s like balsamic-y, glazed, nutty goodness and the cloves are fantastic on a salad, as part of a cheese plate, or worked into a pork or lamb chop sauce.
In any case, back to spices…here I use Aleppo chili flakes for heat. These are my go-to-on-top-of-pizza chili flake and just have a really sweet, mild flavor. Pairing this with a bit of smoked Spanish paprika brings a real richness to the dish; the scent as it’s cooking is maddening (particularly if you are starving like I was when I made this).
I love the idea of working a fall squash into breakfast, and this is a fantastic dish to entertain with for a brunch. I used grana padano cheese here because it’s delicate, and there are so many outspoken flavors here: the caramelized garlic adds that savoury / sweet quality as does the butternut squash, the chilis and paprika a bit of smokiness and heat and the scallions that bright finish. This is definitely one of my Sunday morning fall faves…Enjoy!
Serves 6 to 8
15 – 20 whole garlic cloves
¾ cup milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsps olive oil
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
½ cup water
2 tsps sugar
pinch Aleppo chili flakes
2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into a ½” dice
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup crème fraiche
2 tsps pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
1 tbsp Aleppo chili flakes
1 cup grana padano cheese, grated*
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
2 tbsps scallions or chives, green parts only, finely chopped
1 ¼ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375° F.
In a small saucepan, add whole garlic cloves and milk. Bring up to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Be careful it doesn’t boil over!
Strain and rinse garlic cloves. Wipe out saucepan and place back over medium heat. Add butter and oil. When hot, add garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add remaining caramelized garlic ingredients and simmer until almost all of the liquid is reduced and the cloves are dry. Swirl the garlic in the pan from time to time during this process to keep from sticking and to make sure the cloves cook evenly. Strain off any excess liquid and set aside.
In an ovenproof skillet, toss together the squash cubes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until squash is fork tender.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, reserving ¼ cup of the grated cheese. Add to the hot skillet with the squash. Top with the remaining cheese and a sprinkle of salt and place back in the oven. Cook at this temperature for 15 minutes and increase the temperature to 425° F for another 5 minutes. Serve warm.
*You can substitute in Parmigiano Reggiano or any other grated hard cheese you like.