The restaurant Lighthouse in Brooklyn, where I live part of the time, serves one of the greatest breakfast dishes I’ve had anywhere in the U.S.: a green omelet—it’s very green—filled with spinach, feta and pickled red onion. I’m not sure how they get the omelet so green (I suspect they put spinach through a juicer), but both the visual effect and the flavor combinations make this an exception-al thing to have for breakfast. I’ve re-engineered it here into a frittata, subbed Parmesan or Romano for feta and added a favorite locally grown spring vegetable: asparagus. It’s great for breakfast, for lunch or as a light supper with a mixed-green salad.
For the Quick-Pickled Red Onion
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
red onion, sliced thinly
For the Frittata
¼ cup milk
½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches fresh spinach, stems trimmed
1 bunch asparagus (local, if possible), thick ends trimmed, cut into thirds
First, prepare the pickled onions. In a small pot, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices, and bring to a boil. Mean-while, place the red onion in a bowl or small mixing bowl. When the pickling liquid comes to a boil, pour over the onions. Let sit for at least an hour. There will be some left over, which can be kept in a sealed jar (with their liquid) in the refrigerator for at least 1 week.
Prepare an ice bath in a small mixing bowl. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add 1 bunch of spinach into the pot and blanch 10–20 seconds, until wilted. Transfer to the ice bath to cool. Squeeze all liquid out and chop roughly.
Crack the eggs into a bowl. Transfer to a blender and add the milk, cheese and chopped spinach, and season well with salt and pepper. Blend until fully combined. The mixture should be light green with small flecks of spinach. Set aside.
In a medium or 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the asparagus and cook until it begins to tenderize, about 5 minutes. While it’s cooking, roughly chop the second bunch of spinach. Add to the skillet a handful at a time while stirring, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low and pour in the egg mixture. Allow to set most of the way, cooking gently for 20 minutes. The sides should be completely set and the middle about ¾ of the way set. Set broiler to high. Broil the frittata for 5 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and no longer jiggles when lightly shaken. Remove from the oven and cool until ready to serve. Serve with pickled red onions and a light sprinkle of cheese and black pepper on top.
LUKE PYENSON is a food and travel writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer based in New York City. You can see examples of his work at www.lukepyenson.com.