Spicy harissa paste, chewy halloumi cheese, and salty capers come together in this quick and easy one-pan frittata that's perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This past weekend in Paris was fabulous. It's such an incredible city, beautiful and sparkly and vibrant. We were lucky with the weather (glorious!), Paul ran a great race (one of his best ever executed marathons, and a legal PB), and we enjoyed some really amazing food and drink, as one does in Paris. There were crepes and baguettes. There was wine and cheese. I had no less than one pain au chocolat per day, and a Croque Provençal I'd love to recreate here. And we also had a couple of omelettes, enjoyed as late lunches along the River Seine with a glass of rosé.
If you're a regular reader, you may know that Thursdays are omelet nights in our house. But they're not proper omelets. Like, if we were contestants on Master Chef and there was an omelet challenge, we'd for sure get kicked off that day. A stark contrast to the simplicity of a classic French omelet with their one or two ingredients folded in, delicately rolled, and slightly underdone, our omelettes are fully loaded (Paul comes from the more-is-more school of thought when it comes to adding ingredients to basically anything), overdone (runny eggs squick me out), and often far too thick to even roll in half so we have to default to finishing them under the broiler. But we have embraced our shortcomings in the classic omelet making department, and now either go straight for a frittata (obvs fully loaded) or a 'scromelet' concoction of scrambled eggs with approx one million different vegetables mixed in.
This frittata definitely errs more on the side of simplicity. It's something I made for a lady's brunch I hosted back in February, and it was so good I made it three times within the same week. The first time I made it fully in the oven, first roasting the cauliflower and then baking the whole thing in a buttered pie dish. This was because I was making a second frittata for this brunch so my pan was in use. But the harissa cauliflower and halloumi frittata was definitely the star dish, so I wanted to see if I could engineer it into a one-pan dish that would be mostly a stove top affair with just a quick finish under the broiler, and indeed I could. Then I had to make it a third time in order to take photos and truly confirm that the technique is solid. It is, and so here you go.
Florets of cauliflower are tossed in a spicy harissa paste and pan-fried until good and golden. Then a block of chewy, salty halloumi is torn into pieces and scattered over the top, covered with well-whisked eggs, and left alone on the stove top to mostly set. Just before it goes into the oven for a final blast under the broiler, the top gets dotted with capers which tie the whole thing together. The result is a quick and easy one-pan meal that's as delicious as it is nourishing. Excellent for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and I dare say a fine packed lunch as a frittata will last for a good number of days in the fridge.
Eggs are a natural, nutrient-rich whole food and an amazing source of high quality protein. In fact, many public health authorities use eggs as the reference standard against which protein qualities are evaluated. Eggs contain all 8 B-vitamins, along with folic acid. Vitamin B12 and choline are particularly abundant in eggs. Eggs are also a very good source of selenium and iodine. But what about cholesterol? Well, several large-scale studies conducted recently have suggested that the cholesterol content of eggs in relation to heart disease may be less of a concern than previously thought. Interestingly, a relationship between egg intake and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol has also been observed. However, those with type 2 diabetes should speak to their doctors about including eggs in their diets, as there is a connection between egg intake and cardiovascular problems in that specific population. Is one part of an egg better than the other? As it turns out, the nutrients found in an egg are distributed fairly evenly between the white and the yolk. The white has more protein, magnesium, potassium, and B3, whereas the yolk has more omega-3 fatty acids, folate, choline, B12, and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K.
Two years ago: Honey Dijon Broccoli Salad
Three years ago: Spicy Squash and Lentil Salad
And for another quick and easy dinner with similar flavours, don't forget about this whole wheat spaghettini with harissa roasted cauliflower, capers, and walnuts.
spicy cauliflower frittata
- 1 medium head cauliflower trimmed and broken into bite-sized florets
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoon harissa paste depending on how spicy you like things
- 1 200 g package halloumi torn into small pieces
- 8 large eggs
- 2 tablespoon capers
- salt and pepper
- Set a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat.
- In a large-enough bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with the harissa paste until each piece is as evenly coated as possible.
- Add the oil to the skillet, swirl to coat the pan, and then add the cauliflower. The harissa paste can be quite fumey as it hits the heat, so be sure to have your fan going.
- Leave the cauliflower to brown quite well on one side, then give it a good toss and let it brown on the other side. I find this takes about 5 minutes per side. The cauliflower doesn't need to be cooked through, it can still have a good amount of crunch at this point, but should be nicely browned.
- When the cauliflower is ready, scatter the torn halloumi over the top.
- Whisk the eggs (you can use the same bowl as you used for the cauliflower) and pour over top of the cauliflower and halloumi.
- At this point reduce the heat to medium, and let the frittata gently simmer until it is well set on the bottom but still wet and jiggly on top - about 10 minutes.
- Turn on your broiler to heat up while the eggs are cooking on the stovetop.
- Scatter the capers over the top of the frittata, and then remove from the stovetop and place in the oven under the broiler to finish - about 5 - 10 minutes.
- You'll need to watch it carefully here. The top should be puffed and golden, but not burnt. If your broiler doesn't heat evenly, rotate the pan halfway through.
- Remove the frittata from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Leave a kitchen towel wrapped around the handle in case anyone tries to grab it, as it'll be good and hot!
- Now you can either slice the frittata in the pan, or slide it out onto a cutting board to be sliced. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.