Sitting in a cook shelter by a warm fire watching snow falling is magical. It was getting late and we needed to finish unpacking and getting set up. Some of our students would start arriving soon; the rest would arrive early in the morning. We needed to be ready, but all we could do was sit by the fire, sip our hot tea, and talk in hushed tones as we watched the snow fall.
It was early April in 2008. Donna and Chris and I were teaching outdoor skills to Girl Scout adult volunteers at Camp River Ranch. We had arrived Friday night to set up because class started first thing Saturday morning. As we were setting up, waiting for our students to arrive, it started to snow! It was a light snow, just dusting the ground, but it was snowing! In April! Undaunted, we added a couple more pieces of wood to the fire and sat in the cook shelter and watched it snow, utterly distracted by it all. At some point, we did finish setting up and then we silently trudged through the snow to our open-air cabin and crawled into our warm toasty sleeping bags.
It snowed off and on all weekend. Sunday morning, we made this frittata for breakfast. Donna had actually made it at home in a cast iron skillet and loved it. She was confidant we could adapt it to the Dutch oven. I had never made a frittata. I didn’t even know what a frittata was! Chris is Italian so she actually knew what a frittata was but I don’t think she had actually ever made one. But, between the two of us, we adapted it to the Dutch oven and it was amazing!
I discovered that a frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelet or crustless quiche. You sauté your meats and/or vegetables in a cast iron skillet, add your beaten egg mixture and cheese and then you move it into the oven to bake.
So, Sunday morning, we walked our students through it (we made a double batch in 2 Dutch ovens). They sautéed the onions and zucchini in my 12-inch Dutch ovens, added the remaining ingredients, and then we put the lids on and moved them to coals. The zucchini were perfectly al dente. The eggs poofed like a soufflé! It was warm, flavorful and so yummy on a cold, snowy Sunday morning! I was sold and I have loved this recipe ever since.
We made it again just a couple weeks ago while teaching outdoor cooking skills to more Girl Scout adult volunteer leaders. This time we were at Camp Robbinswold and the weather was beautiful! Once again, it performed to perfection! It was definitely a hit!
12-inch Dutch oven (in camp) or cast iron skillet (at home), knife and cutting board, mixing bowl, wisk, measuring cups and spoons.
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
9 small zucchini (2 pounds), washed, dried, halved lengthwise, and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup bread crumbs
1 ½ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
9 eggs, beaten
Slice the onions and zucchini. Over medium heat, either over coals or on a stove, warm olive oil in the skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onions, stirring to coat with the oil. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and stir gently to mix with the onions. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the zucchini softens, about 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and drain off any liquid from the pan. Spread the onions and zucchini evenly in the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until well blended. Pour over zucchini mixture, cover and bake in a 325°F oven, using 16 coals on the lid and 7 coals underneath, for 45 minutes. Sprinkle on remaining Parmesan cheese and bake another 5 minutes.
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