It had been 5 years since I had been in California, the last time was in Los Angeles, when Angel and I decided to move to Bulgaria. I had added additional days to my visit to incorporate the Foodbuzz Festival and a trip to wine country; Napa and Sonoma. About a month before my trip, I reserved a space for a cooking demo at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus. I had not previously had the opportunity to visit any of the CIA’s campuses and I was quite excited about being surrounded by culinary greatness; to my surprise, I was about the one of the few who attended the demo that felt that way.
Our recipe for the day was Frittata with Crispy Potatoes, Spinach and Truffle Essence. Chef Imbrunetti provided us with a recipe, but he said that he has never made the same one twice and then proceeded to make changes to the printed recipe we were given.
Frittata with Crispy Potatoes, Spinach and Truffle Essence:
by CIA Chef Harold Imbrunetti
2 sm russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4″(.63cm) thick
3 tbsp olive oil (he used a hot/spicy Spanish variety)
1 white onion (sweeter in contrast to the leek)
1 lg leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 oz (59ml) water
1 sm bunch of spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup finely grated Vella Dry Jack & parmesan reggiano (any hard cheese)
3 – 4 tbsp (60g) unsalted butter, cold (I think he used more… a lot more)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 oz (29ml) white truffle oil
- Preheat an oven to 350F (180C)
- Place potatoes in a pot with 1 qt (950ml) cold water and 1 tbsp kosher salt.Bring the pot to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes, or until the potatoes are just done through, fork tender. Drain the potatoes carefully, towel dry excess water and set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a sauté pan over a medium burner, make sure the pan is hot before adding the oil. Add the onion and leek, and sauté for two minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Remove from the pan from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Beat the eggs and water together in a bowl. Add the cooled onion and leek, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat a 9-inch nonstick skillet with an oven-safe handle over a medium burner. Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and arrange the potato slices in the pan in a single layer. Season the potatoes with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook for three minutes, or until golden brown at the edges.
- Add chunks of cold butter to the egg mixture, then carefully pour half it over the potatoes. Arrange the spinach leaves over the eggs. Cover the spinach with the remaining egg mixture, and sprinkle the surface with the grated cheese.
- Transfer the pant to the oven, and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the eggs have set completely. Remove the pan from the oven, and turn the frittata out onto a large plate.
- Cut the frittata into eighths, and drizzle with white truffle oil just before serving. Serve either hot or at room temperature.
- drying to potatoes to help with the browning
- add the butter cold to the egg mixture, so it slowly dispersers through out the dish and helps give the eggs a better texture
- don’t add the potatoes raw because then you have no control over them
- kosher salt helps to bring out the brightness in a dish not saltiness
- when the oil becomes wavy, before it starts smoking, that is the right temperature to crisp the potatoes.