It has been raining incessantly here in Portland the last week. Actually, the whole winter has been excessively wet and grey, even for Portland, but the saving grace is that we can see spring around the corner. Flowers are popping up through the earth, the magnolia tree behind our house is in full bloom, and daylights savings time officially arrived yesterday. We're in the sweet spot where the root vegetables of winter are still vibrant and the spring greens are starting to pop up at the market.
On Saturday morning, Marcus returned from a shopping trip and was unloading bags full of vegetables when he took a munch from the beet leaves and decided that the tender, nutty leaves would be perfect in a frittata. One of our favorite weeknight meals or weekend brunch items, our frittatas usually towering, laden with potatoes, salmon, and a variety of vegetables from the fridge. This simple, thin version was perfect over a slice a buttered bread as we watched the rain fall outside.
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup beet leaves, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp pink peppercorns
Turn on oven broiler. Blend chili flakes, fennel seeds, and pepper with mortar and pestle. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together eggs, milk, and cheese. Warm olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat and then sauté beet leaves for 3-4 minutes until soft. When leaves are tender, add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add butter and let melt. Then turn heat to medium-low, add in egg mixture and sprinkle herb mixture and dried thyme on top. Cook for 5-6 minutes without stirring, until butter starts to bubble through on the edge of the pan.
Sprinkle with sea salt and then place pan in oven for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on top. Top with green onions and pink peppercorn. Serve warm with buttered bread.