This was a big week. I finally turned 40 on Monday. I say finally, as I have actually been celebrating for about 7 weeks now and have almost reached 40 celebrations for my 40 years of age. Almost. For anyone that knows me, this is a strange phenomenon as I have not celebrated since my 21st. It seems that this year I am making up for lost time.
To start the big day, I invited a group of friends over for breakfast. After all, breakfast is my favourite meal, and what better way to start my new decade (and the week) with some good cold brew and sugary carbs. For those who proclaim to no longer eat them, amongst a plethora of summer fruits, there was granolawith (yes) goats milk yoghurt and berries.
I also made one of my favourite brunch dishes, originally inspired by Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa). For the birthday breakfast crowd, I decided to make three times the usual, in case EVERYONE ate a whole portion, not accounting for the numerous other options on the table.
But I made a classic error. I used a different goats cheese. I always make it with the same soft French creamy goats cheese. While rushing around at the eleventh hour for my ingredients, my usual goats cheese was nowhere to be found and I was forced to default to an alternative (which turned out to be almost feta-ey in its saltiness).
Most normal people, when cooking for a crowd on their 40th birthday, would not only be organised in advance, but would stick to known ingredients. Alas, not me. I experimented. And the end result was very salty. I neglected to taste the goats cheese before I added it, and, when combined with the smoked salmon (exacerbated by tripling the recipe), the frittata (while looked good) was not up to my usual standard.
Thankfully all was not lost. There was tonnes of other food. And it turns out that everyone was happy to indulge in sweet carbs after all.
Here is the recipe for the frittata that I have slightly adapted over the years. I make it all the time, and it is fantastic for a (smallish) crowd, either hot straight out of the oven, or at room temperature as part of a weekend lunch/brunch or summer dinner. Just taste the salmon and goats cheese before adding them to the egg mixture so that you can decide how liberal you want to be with the salt.
Smoked Salmon Goats Cheese and Herb Frittata
Adapted from Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Family Style
This serves 8-10 as part of a brunch spread (or summer picnic). It is equally good served with a green salad for dinner (where it may only stretch to 6). It makes a great packed lunch the next day, so make the full amount and embrace the leftovers.
1 medium onion (approx 150g/5oz) diced
1 tbsp olive oil
12 large eggs
180ml (3/4 cup) milk (preferably whole, definitely not skimmed)
2 spring onions (scallions) thinly sliced white and green parts
8 sprigs of dill finely chopped
5 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
10 sprigs of chives finely chopped
225g (1/2lb) smoked salmon, chopped
100g (3.5oz) soft goats cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
Heat olive oil in a 26cm (10 inch) sautee pan and cook onions gently for about 10 minutes until translucent and fragrant.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, add the milk, chopped spring onions and herbs and combine.
Add the chopped smoked salmon to the eggs and mix.
Pour the mixture over the onions, and sprinkle, the crumbled goats cheese, and put in the centre of the oven.
Bake for about 50 minutes until it is puffed and golden, and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean and hot.
I scoop it straight out of the dish, but if you are brave you can turn it out on to a platter and slice into pie pieces.
Note: if you want to serve it turned out of the pan at room temperature, make sure there is enough oil when you sautee the onions to line the base and sides so that you can easily remove the frittata once cooked.
Also feel free to change up the herb selection. Tarragon also works well, as does basil, although use both a bit more sparingly than the ones listed above.