Culinary SOS: We’ve cracked the code on an eggless frittata
Dear Genevieve: I absolutely love the chickpea frittata at Go Get Em Tiger. We’ve tried to replicate it at home at least 10 times but it’s never the same. The GGET version is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and the veggies have the perfect flavor. Can you find out the recipe and technique for how to make this come out so perfect?
— Lisa Ruben Rosenblum, Los Angeles
Dear Lisa: Turns out, this (vegan!) frittata contains just five ingredients: chickpea flour, shallots, kale, tomatoes and olive oil.
Mostly, it requires a little patience. Anyone can nail the basic techniques — caramelizing vegetables, whisking batter, searing baked frittata slices — but this dish takes time to mimic the taste and texture of a custardy frittata without any eggs.
Shallots caramelize slowly so they sweeten and soften without burning. After kale wilts in the skillet, tomatoes get a turn so they stay plump. The vegetables alone nearly fill the loaf pan, which is why this frittata packs so much flavor. What binds it all together is a chickpea batter that needs a long bake in the oven to firm and an overnight chill to set and mellow to an egg-like taste.
That wait is worth it. The next morning — and after that too — the cold loaf slices easily into neat golden squares dotted with tomatoes. Seared in hot oil, each piece becomes crackly on the outside and tender within. It’s delicious on its own or with a green side salad or toast.
CHICKPEA FRITTATA WITH TOMATOES AND KALE
1 hour 45 minutes, plus overnight chilling. Makes one 9- by 5-inch loaf.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
6 medium or 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems discarded, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the parchment.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, 7 to 9 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, then add the kale and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tomatoes and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and fold until evenly mixed. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly.
Whisk the chickpea flour and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk to combine. Add 1 3/4 cups water in 1/4 cup increments, whisking well after each addition to keep the batter smooth. Slowly pour into the pan over the vegetables. Tap the pan to eliminate air bubbles, then cover the pan tightly with foil.
Bake until set, about 1 hour. Uncover and bake until golden brown in spots on top, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, then turn out onto a cutting board and discard the parchment. Wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to set.
When ready to eat, unwrap the loaf and cut as many 1-inch-thick slices as you’d like to serve. Heat a layer of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the slices, spacing them apart. Cook, turning once, until browned and crisp on both sides, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Make ahead: The baked loaf can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.