Recipe: Berber Frittata - UnderPinned

Cook and travel writer John Gregory-Smith is the author of several excellent books. This recipe – delicious warm or cold – is a great one to get you through a day (or two) at the desk, and is taken from Orange Blossom and Honey. John’s next book, Saffron in the Souks will be published by Octopus Books in May this year.

Berber Frittata

The Atlas Mountains are a huge pull for keen trekkers looking for challenging peaks and spectacular scenery – as well as for wandering chefs in search of authentic Berber cuisine. I was staying in a tiny village called Tacheddirt to learn about traditional barbecue, and on my last night there, a trekking guide called Abdul arrived at my friend’s house, starving hungry. He knocked up a frittata made with spiced vegetables, herbs, olives and egg. Served with masses of soft bread, it was perfect for anyone who had had a long day on the mountain. And if you’re not on the mountains, it’s superb served with a fresh salad as a light lunch.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing

1 onion, finely sliced

2 red peppers, deseeded and finely sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato purée

100g pitted black olives, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cumin, plus a pinch for the eggs

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

A large handful of finely chopped coriander leaves

6 free-range eggs

50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Melt the butter and oil in a large, ovenproof, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes until soft and a little golden. Add the garlic halfway.
  2. Tip the tomatoes, tomato purée, olives and all the spices into the pan. Season with a good pinch of salt and add 100ml of water. Mix everything together and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5–6 minutes until lovely and thick, adding more water if the pan gets too dry. Stir in the coriander and mix well.
  3. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and season with salt and a pinch of cumin. Pour over the peppers and half mix, half shake the pan so that the eggs settle into the vegetables. Cook for 3–4 minutes, until the eggs start to set around the sides and little bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Scatter over the cheese and pop into the oven for 5–6 minutes, or until the eggs have just set and the molten cheese is a little golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then run a spatula around the sides and slide onto a board to serve.

 

Image Credit: Martin Poole  

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