A cook’s best friend: The frittata

This egg dish lends itself to all sort of variations.
This egg dish lends itself to all sort of variations. For The Washington Post

Along with the chopped salad, the pasta bowl, the soup and the taco, this egg dish represents one of my go-to strategies for showcasing vegetables — and sometimes leftovers — in a new, but still quick, way.

There are lots of paths to a great frittata, which you can think of as an open-faced omelet, but I tend to stick to one: I cook my aromatic vegetable base in a cast-iron skillet, add whatever other ingredients I want to cook (this time of year, it’s been cherry tomatoes and fresh corn), scrape them out of the skillet after they’re done, then pour in whisked eggs. I let the eggs cook, lifting them around the edges periodically to let some of the liquid run underneath so they set in layers. Then I return the vegetables to the top, add dollops of cheese and pop the thing under the broiler to finish cooking.

In her new book, “One Pan, Two Plates: Vegetarian Suppers,” Carla Snyder’s recipe for Persian zucchini frittata has you cook the vegetables, then pour the eggs over them before broiling.

Snyder’s frittata works beautifully, with the eggs browning and puffing up in the oven. But the real charm of it is in the surprising ingredients: Turmeric, browned onion, ginger and garlic lend the zucchini mixture a deeply savory flavor, while a little cooked rice adds heft. Most unusual of all: crunchy, tart pomegranate seeds as a garnish.

Snyder’s mission is to provide recipes that are interesting, and have less-cleanup and smaller yields for couples, but I have to admit that the first thing I thought when I made it was, wouldn’t this be the perfect thing to triple or quadruple for a brunch party?

Persian zucchini frittata

2 or 3 servings

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons water

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Two 6-inch zucchini, coarsely grated

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup cooked brown rice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Pomegranate seeds (for garnish; optional)

Preheat the oven to broil, and set an oven rack in the second-highest position. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with the water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.

Heat a 10-to-12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, and pour in the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion browns, 6 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic and turmeric and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant, 2 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the zucchini (if using a 10-inch skillet, add just half of the zucchini), the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Cook until the zucchini is tender, about 3 minutes, and repeat if needed with the other half of the zucchini. Stir in the rice until well combined. Taste, and add more salt if needed.

Spread the vegetable-rice mixture evenly in the skillet. Pour the eggs evenly over it. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover and transfer the pan to the broiler. Broil the frittata until the top is lightly browned and puffed and the center is firm to the touch, about 3 minutes.

Remove the frittata from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes. (It will be puffy when it comes out but will deflate.) Garnish with the parsley and pomegranate seeds, if using. Cut it into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutrition per serving (based on 3): 260 calories, 11 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 250 mg cholesterol, 640 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar