Posted by: Rabideye | August 11, 2009

Gianni’s “Zucchini Mint Oven-Baked Frittata”

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

pre-bake side view

pre-bake side view

This is an easy-to-prepare dish that will serve 4-6 people; it largely consists of well-drained grated zucchini mixed with some salt to encourage the water removal. Do NOT skip the draining step or you will end up with a soggy mess. Removing a lot of the water content means you can use up more zucchini than you thought! The corn meal at the bottom and on top provide a sort of ad-hoc crust of sorts. I suppose bread crumbs can also be used instead.

Local percentage: approx. 75% (zucchini, milk, eggs, peppers, fresh herbs) per volume.

Non-local: 25% (oil, salt, cheese, corn meal, baking powder, dried chilies, ground pepper)

Gianni’s “Zucchini Mint Oven-Baked Frittata” Recipe

  1. 12-15 hours before (you can prep this the evening before for lunch the next day), grate 6 smallish (c. 7 ” long) fresh zucchini using a cheese grater. The larger the zuke, the more water and seeds, and less flavour, so pick them smallish.
  2. Layer the results in a colander. As you layer, sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon seal salt. You should end up with about 4 or 5 layers.  Note that you should not have to add any more salt to this dish after this.
  3. Place the colander into a very large bowl. Then find a small plate that will fit right on top of the grated zucchini inside the colander. Place a weight on top (about 4 lbs)– you can rest a larger bowl full of water as a weight.
  4. This will immediately begin to remove some of the excess water from the zucchini.
  5. Place in refrigerator as is.
  6. After about 3 hours, revisit the bowl and remove any water that emerged, and also remove the weight and stir the salted zucchini mixture around with a fork. Place the weight back on and return the whole thing to the refrigerator.
  7. Repeat this after 6 hours and again when you’re ready to prepare the dish. You do not want the colander’s rounded bottom to be in contact with the zucchini water, of course.
  8. Once the zucchini is ready and probably 3/4 or less its original volume, in a separate mixing bowl, whisk together: 4 large eggs,
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint,
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley,
    a  chopped up leaf or two of fresh basil,
    1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper,
    a tsp dried oregano,
    a diced red bell pepper (or whatever type of pepper you have),
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic chives,
    2 tablespoons milk, and
    1 teaspoon baking powder.
  9. Then pour the contents of the mixing bowl into the (now drier) zucchini-salt mixture and blend with a spoon or rubber spatula until well-blended.
  10. Coat an 3-quart/ 2.8 L Pyrex baking dish bottom with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and cover the bottom of the pan evenly with coarse corn meal; you should have a good 1/4 inch layer at the bottom.
  11. Preheat the over to 350 F
  12. Then pour the zucchini/egg (etc.) mixture on top of the corn meal with a large spoon, flattening out the mixture as you spoon it in, until the baking dish bottom is covered.
  13. Cut another red (yellow, orange…) bell pepper horizontally to produce rings, and place these on top of the mixture. Then sprinkly about 1 tsp of dried chilies on top.
  14. Then sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of coarse corn meal on top, and sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of grated hard cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmiggiano Reggiano work well) on top of the corn meal.
  15. Bake uncovered for 1 hour on low over rack, then for 30 minutes more on higher rack and finally broil on top rack for 3 minutes.
  16. Let cool for 5 minutes, cut out a piece and enjoy.
finished product

finished product

served with (yes, local) potato salad.

served with (yes, local) potato salad.

Possible Substitutions:

  • Butter or other type of oil can be used instead of olive oil.
  • Other herbs (as long as they are fresh) can replace what I have here, like tarragon or savory or thyme.
  • Onion can replace the chives, as long as it’s chopped finely.
  • Nutritional Yeast or dried Dulse flakes can (try to) substitute for the cheese.
  • (Unsalted) dried tomatoes can be used as well, maybe in place of the peppers, or in addition to.
  • Squash would also work instead of zucchini, and this woudl probably require less draining time.
  • Instead of eggs you could think about using a soft tofu that you’d crumble into the herbs, and mix thoroughly (and no need for baking powder in this case).
  • Instead of conventional milk, you could use soy milk, or goat’s milk.
  • Instead of corn meal, try dried coarse bread crumbs.
  • Leave out the chilies and ground pepper if you don’t like hot spices


  1. Yummy.

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