Leftovers? Don’t use any in our chorizo frittata served with chili jelly, please. And don’t expect any after you’ve served it. This is a super special omelet with no space for refrigerator oddments. Instead, there’s that spicy chorizo, mushroom, potato, cayenne chili, and goat’s cheese. Special? Very. This is one memorable breakfast meal.
Obviously, there are eggs. Good, big, free-rangers. Beaten together with Parmesan, heavy cream, milk, tarragon, and a little salt and black pepper.
It starts out slowly on a stovetop skillet and finishes fast under a glowing broiler that crowns it with a golden top. Outstanding when eaten hot, it’s just as good cold. Yep, just as good. Provided you can wait that long.
Respect reaps rewards
I was surprised that so many recipes praise frittata as the perfect place for remnants. Like it’s their happy, last chance saloon before going into a stockpot (honestly, unlikely), Fido’s bowl or — however guiltily — the trash.
What makes our chorizo frittata so good is that all the fillings — the chorizo, cayenne peppers, mushrooms, chickpeas, and potatoes — are prepared specifically for the frittata. They’re not added as use-me-up ingredients just because there happen to be some looking for a home.
Give your frittata the respect it deserves, and you’ll be delighted with how generously it rewards you.
The wonder of eggs
I’d rather drop and smash a decent wine glass than an egg. The food writer AA Gill first made me realize that. The awful remorse hits you as soon as the egg hits the floor. If ever there was a food stuff that warrants a ‘handle with care’ message, it’s eggs.
A carefully soft-boiled pair with hot buttered toast is one of the finest breakfasts I know. And yet, in complete contrast, with some good mayo and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, hard-boiled eggs are the embodiment of really fine picnic food.
And in a good frittata, the eggs are a like a stage on which the other ingredients get to showcase their very different flavors and textures.
It might be tagged as an omelet, but it certainly doesn’t look or taste like one of those delicately folded, fluffy French ones.
If eggs are this chorizo frittata’s body and soul, these fillings are its heart
Let’s start with the chickpeas. Fried fast in a bit of butter in a big hot skillet they take on a deeper color and get a nicely crispy outer. Earthy, smoky, and a little crunchy, they’re grand with the heat of the cayenne peppers and the richness of thick slices of chorizo.
Those slices also get a little of the same fast and hot treatment in the skillet. As their spiciness melts out, they’re joined by some matching mushroom slices and par-boiled potato.
This early work with the skillet means the fillings are all at their flavorsome best before being unified into a single entity — your frittata — by the eggs, dairy, salt, pepper, and tarragon. Now there’s a very distinctive, aromatic herb with its bright edge of aniseed. It has to be my favorite herb with beaten eggs.
A few minutes in the skillet starts to set the eggs and then, once topped with a few rounds of goat’s cheese, it’s time to finish the cooking under that hot broiler. Result? Your frittata will have enough body so that you can easily eat a quarter slice of it with your hands without it falling apart.
Serve it with our chili jelly (see the recipe below the chorizo frittata recipe), and you will be relishing a true gourmet meal, not a breakfast mix-and-match.
- Skillet with flame proof handle
- 2 medium-size red cayenne or serrano chilies cut crosswise on the diagonal into 1/4 inch slices, seeds and all
- 8 extra-large, free-range eggs
- 2/3 cup full cream milk and heavy cream half and half
- 2 ounces grated parmesan
- 1 heaped teaspoon dried French tarragon
- 1 1/2 heaped teaspoons ground sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can chickpeas 14-ounce can, rinsed and drained
- 4 1/2 ounces spicy chorizo sausage skin-on and sliced into 1/3-inch rounds
- 2 medium-size potatoes peeled and halved
- 4 1/2 ounces medium-size brown mushrooms cut into 1/3-inch slices, stalks and all
- 4 ounces goat cheese the mid-priced sort that comes in a cylinder shape is grand. Cut into 1/3-inch rounds.
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
Preparing the ingredients
- First, par-boil the potatoes. Set them in a pan on high heat in enough water to cover them. Add a heaped teaspoon salt and bring them to the boil. As soon as that happens, cover the pan, drop the heat to low, and let the potatoes simmer away until just tender – about 7 minutes. Drain them and set aside to cool.
- Time now for the rest of the fillings. Melt 1 level tablespoon butter in a big skillet on a medium-high heat. As the butter starts to foam, add the drained chickpeas, and spread them around in a single, even layer. You’re aiming here to sort of gently stir fry them for about four minutes so they pick up a good golden colour and get some crispness all over their outsides.
- Keep them moving about the skillet and do take care here that they don’t start to char. Good. Get them off the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a dish.
- Now cut the par-boiled potatoes into 1/3 inch slices – to match the thickness of the chorizo and the mushrooms.
- Return the skillet to that medium-high heat and add the chorizo slices. Fry them for about two minutes on each side so that they pick up some flecks of color and begin to melt out some of their lovely paprika-red fat. Add the potatoes, mushrooms, cayennes, and another level tablespoon butter.
- That’s now going to be a pretty full skillet – with everything sizzling away on medium-high. As much as you can, spread it all out so you have a single layer with the chorizo, cayennes, mushroom, and potatoes fairly evenly spaced around the skillet. Fry for another three minutes and then carefully turn everything for another three minutes’ frying. Good, that’s the fillings all done. Take the skillet off the heat and set aside while you deal with the eggs.
- In a good size mixing bowl, beat the eggs together with the milk, heavy cream, Parmesan, tarragon, salt, and black pepper. You want to beat the mix fairly slowly until the eggs are just barely combined with the other ingredients. Don’t overdo this. Just barely combined is all you’re aiming for, nothing more. Time now to cook your frittata.
Cooking the frittata
- Turn your broiler to high and set a rack beneath it with enough space to easily slide in your skillet – allowing about three inches between the broiler’s flame and the top of the skillet.
- Return the skillet to a medium high heat with all its fillings – but not yet the toasted chickpeas. As soon as it all starts sizzling, pour in the egg mix. Time now for a few minutes’ gentle work with a broad, flexible spatula while the skillet’s on that medium high heat.
- Use the spatula to give the egg mix and fillings a single, sweeping stir that covers the entire base of the skillet. Good. Now add the toasted chickpeas evenly all over the top.
- The egg mix will quickly start to set from the edges of skillet first. That’s great. As the edges begin to set, lift them a little with the spatula and tip the skillet so that still-liquid mix from the skillet’s middle runs under the lifted edge.
- Repeat this lift-and-tip process all round the edges, until all the egg mix has just barely set. This should take about four minutes – then immediately take the skillet off the heat.
- Quick as you can, dot the rounds of goat cheese on top of the frittata. Nearly done.
- Now slide the skillet under the hot broiler for about three minutes. You want to give the top a nice golden colour as the goat’s cheese starts to melt – and the whole frittata starts to rise a bit. Remove from the broiler, done. Let the frittata sit for five minutes, then cut it into quarters and serve – ideally with our fab chilli jelly (see the recipe below.)
The chili jelly: A real treat in its own right
Cayenne or serrano chilies, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and Spanish onion get melted down in a pan with a little olive oil, then gently simmered with smoky demerara sugar, a little oriental fish sauce, ground cumin and paprika, and some cutting lime juice.
Hot and sweet but with real depth to its layers of flavor, this jelly might make you think twice about ever reaching again for your favorite tomato ketchup. That’s why I make enough to fill a 16-ounce jar that’ll keep for at least for a week in the refrigerator. It’s just delicious on the side of our chorizo frittata. It’s that sweet and spicy combo.
- 16-ounce glass jar with screw-top lid
- 4 red cayenne or serrano chilies finely diced, seeds and all
- 18 ounces ripe cherry tomatoes roughly cut into quarters, skins, seeds and all
- 1 medium-size Spanish red onion peeled, halved and very thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and finely sliced
- 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground paprika
- 10 ounces demerara sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground sea salt
- 2 heaped teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the onion and the salt, stir well and drop the heat to low. Continue cooking for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally so the onions gently soften but get nowhere near to browning. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 90 seconds. Good.
- Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and the diced chiliEs, turn the heat to medium, give everything a good stir and after two minutes – plus a couple more stirs – drop the heat to low again. Cook for about 12 minutes with a couple of encouraging stirs so the tomatoes give up most of their body.
- Now add the ginger, cumin, paprika, fish sauce, and black pepper. Stir well to combine everything. Turn the heat to medium, bring the pan to a bare boil, and then immediately remove it from the heat.
- Let the mix cool for a few minutes, then pour it into a food processor. Whizz it for a minute, then return it to the pan set on a low-medium heat. Add the demerara sugar and give the pan a thorough stir. As soon as the jelly starts to bubble, lower the heat and let it gently – and I mean gently – simmer for 35 minutes, stirring now and again to prevent any sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat and then stir in the lime juice. Set the pan aside with the lid ajar, and let it cool for 15 minutes. That’s it, chili jelly done.
- While the jelly’s cooling, you can prep its jar. Thoroughly wash and rinse the jar and its lid in hot water. Dry the lid and shake most of the water from the jar before setting it in a microwave for 2 minutes on high. This will pretty much sterilize the jar. Take a bit of care now – that jar’s gonna be hot when you remove it from the microwave.
- Pour the chili jelly into the jar and lightly screw on the lid – don’t screw it fully closed – and let the jar cool for 30 minutes before you tighten the lid.