By Jessica Alfreds, owner Jessica Alfreds Homemade
Some people get along famously and would make ideal next door neighbors. Others would be better off separated by a few streets (or towns). Food is the same way. Companion Planting is the practice of using plants that “get along well” to help each other grow. And those plants often taste great together too…Mother Nature’s way of flavor matchmaking.
You may have heard the expression, “what grows together, goes together”. When you’re trying to create a meal, this is a great starting point. Things that grow in the same region, at the same time of year, very often compliment each other. Tomatoes and basil, carrots and peas, apples and squash, cucumber and dill, corn and beans…there are so many classic combinations.
Tomatoes and asparagus are a great example of Companion Planting. Tomato plants keep the common asparagus beetles away, and asparagus plants emit a chemical which destroys the roundworm, an enemy of the tomato plant. In late summer, when tomatoes are at their peak, I like to make this tomato-asparagus frittata for a few friends on a Sunday morning…..
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 eggs
- 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bunch of green asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 ½ cups Swiss cheese, grated
- Chives, garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté asparagus about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cook 2 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk or cream. Be sure to lift your whisk out of the bowl a little as you go. This whips some air into the eggs and keeps the frittata light and fluffy. Spoon the asparagus and tomatoes from the skillet into the bowl with the eggs. Keep the same skillet over a medium flame and add the butter.
- Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and stir well. Season again with a dash of salt and black pepper. Stir in the Swiss cheese and cook for 5 minutes over a medium-low flame, stirring occasionally. Then put the skillet in the oven to cook for about 10 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the frittata comes out clean.
- Slide your knife around the whole pan to loosen the edges of the frittata, then carefully transfer it onto a platter, or serve it directly from the skillet. Garnish with chopped fresh chives.
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