A couple of weeks ago, my friend Andrew from the blog Eating Rules invited me and a few blogging buddies to a goat cheese demonstration with Redwood Hill Farms. The event took place at Erika Kerekes’ home (she writes In Erika’s Kitchen). During the demo, family farm owner Jennifer Lynn Bice described the basics of making goat cheese. She also showed us how to make goat milk ricotta cheese, a relatively simple process that produced a rich, creamy, delicate ricotta.
I’ve been a fan of Redwood Hill products for several years, so I was excited to meet the farm’s owner. During the demo, I learned all about Redwood Hill and their awesome goat farm. Did you know their cheeses and dairy products are kosher certified? Goat milk cheeses are easier to digest, making them a great alternative for people who are lactose intolerant. Many people who can’t digest cow’s milk have no trouble with goat’s milk. I was happy to learn that Jennifer is committed to keeping her products as clean and natural as possible. Their farm is pesticide free. Their cheeses are not yet certified organic, though they are working on it. That was great to hear, as I prefer buying organic dairy whenever possible.
The best part? We went home with samples! Who can say no to free goat cheese? After a week of snacking on different varieties, I was inspired to come up with a simple, savory recipe using fresh chevre, which is the most basic form of goat cheese. It’s simple, tangy, and creamy with just a touch of milky sweetness. It’s soft enough to be spread but firm enough to be crumbled. I looked in the fridge to see what else I had on hand. Eggs, mushrooms, fresh parsley, and a jar of harissa from our local Middle Eastern market. Eureka! Time to make a frittata.
Every regional cuisine has their own version of the Italian frittata, from omelets to Spanish tortillas. The Italian expression “hai fatto una frittata,” which loosely translates to “you’ve made quite a mess,” is fitting given that the only required ingredients are beaten eggs, while the rest can be just about anything in your refrigerator. In Italian kitchens, cooks will sometimes set aside the leftovers from a big meal to use in a frittata the following day. It’s unclear when the frittata first started making an appearance in Italy, but given that they can be made with simple, inexpensive ingredients, it seems likely that they’ve been around for quite some time.
In this frittata, the mellow tang of the goat cheese perfectly compliments the spicy harissa and savory mushrooms. Harissa is a hot pepper paste that can be found at most Middle Eastern and kosher grocery markets. If you aren’t able to find it in your area, sambal oelek chili paste provides a workable substitute; it can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores. Harissa pastes vary by brand in terms of heat. I have provided instructions “to taste” below to ensure that you don’t over- or under-spice your fritatta.
This dish is gluten free, low carb, healthy and delish– the perfect light weeknight meal. Enjoy!
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Mushroom, Harissa and Goat Cheese Frittata
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 tablespoon harissa (more or less to taste- or substitute sambal oelek)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs with milk, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt till fluffy (if salt sensitive use 1/4 tsp salt). Reserve.
- Harissas vary in thickness/pastiness. If your harissa is a thicker, drier paste, stir in a little olive oil till it becomes more liquid and easier to spread. Reserve.
- Heat olive oil in skillet on medium high till hot but not smoking. Add the sliced mushrooms in a single layer. Let them sear for 3-4 minutes without stirring till golden on the bottom.
- Stir the mushrooms, then stir in 1-2 tbsp of harissa to taste. I used about 1 1/2 tbsp-- you may need more or less depending on the spiciness of your harissa. The mushrooms should be spicy and well seasoned, but not too spicy to handle. Stir till the mushrooms are golden brown and coated with harissa.
- Stir in minced garlic and chopped parsley (reserve 2 tsp parsley for garnish). Saute for 1-2 minutes till the garlic is fragrant. Spread the mushrooms and herbs out in a single, even layer.
- Sprinkle the goat cheese evenly across the top of the mushroom and parsley layer.
- Rewhisk the eggs till fluffy, then pour them evenly over the top of the other ingredients, tilting the pan in each direction to make sure all ingredients are evenly covered with egg. Cook for 2 minutes till the edges begin to solidify and brown a bit. Sprinkle the paprika lightly across the top of the eggs.
- Place the fritatta carefully in the oven. Let it bake for about 10 minutes, till a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. It will be puffy when you first take it out of the oven, then it will settle.
- Slice the fritatta and serve. I plated this with some organic mache greens. It goes great with a light spring salad or Israeli salad on the side, and a slice of whole grain toast if you're not gluten intolerant.