“From the SCCC Kitchen” offers tastes from Schenectady County Community College’s culinary arts program. Today, technical specialist Robert L. Payne II (chef at his family’s The Bears’ Steakhouse in Duanesburg) continues a four-part series on breakfast favorites. On the menu — Anna Frittata.
Anna is not an omelet. Anna is not a quiche.
When Robert L. Payne II makes his Anna Frittata — an egg-based dish that includes meats, cheeses and vegetables and bakes in the oven — he’s making a hearty breakfast.
“Omelets cook on top of the stove,” said Robert L. Payne II. “This, you can see the sides of the cast iron pan. What I love about this is you get starch, you have potatoes on the bottom and you have your egg. On the flip side, you have your vegetables in there. You can put in asparagus or broccoli or whatever you like. There’s bleu cheese, ham, spinach. It’s really a full breakfast. It’s got everything in there for you, and it’s really a beautiful presentation.”
The process begins with potatoes, sliced and layered at the bottom of a cast iron skillet. These are Anna potatoes — a French dish cooked in a melted butter. Payne prefers russets.
Once the potatoes brown, Payne is ready with the frittata mix of eggs, heavy cream, crumbled bleu cheese and smoked ham. “I blanche some spinach, squeeze the spinach out and mix everything,” Payne said. “You literally pour the egg mixture right into the cast iron pan on top of the potatoes. You put it in the oven and you let it finish.”
Payne uses a 4-inch skillet and the frittata mix fills the entire pan. Once baked, the frittata is easily transferred to a serving plate — complete with skillet marks on the sides.
Bacon can be substituted for the ham. Iron is also an important part of the recipe, Payne said, because oven heat will reach 375 degrees.
For Anna potatoes:
2 russet potatoes
2 ounces butter, melted
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs, beaten
4 ounces spinach, blanched (squeeze out moisture) and chopped
1 ounce butter
1 ounce heavy cream
3 ounces chopped ham or bacon
2 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pinch thyme
For Anna potatoes: Select round, uniformly sized potatoes. The appearance of this dish is important. Slices should be 1⁄8 inch thick, neat and even. Heat butter in cast iron skillet. The skillet must be well-seasoned, so the potatoes do not stick. Place one potato slice in the center of the skillet, then circle rest of potatoes, overlapping slices around it. Place the pan over moderate fire and heat until pan is sizzling and potatoes caramelize on outside edges. Remove from heat.
To make frittata, combine all ingredients and whisk well. Pour on top of Anna potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Slide the frittata to a plate.