There are some smells in life that lead to lust. Not sexual lust, but food lust. For me, one of those smells is the smell of freshly roasted chiles.
I remember as a kid, my dad used to grow chile peppers and every fall he would lay the peppers out on metal grates and roast them with a huge torch. It would take hours to roast all of them and we would have enough chiles for the whole year. For days, the house would smell vaguely of a really good Mexican restaurant.
Unfortunately, I do not grow my own peppers (maybe someday) and I’m also piss poor with a blowtorch (I imagine), but I do get to relive this smell during the fall because stores in Colorado set up huge roasting stations right outside so you can get freshly roasted chiles this time of year. You can smell the chiles for blocks and you better get there early, because they sell out fast.
I bought a huge bunch of them a few weeks ago and made this frittata which is pretty much everything I want in a fall brunch dish. It’s not hard to throw together and completely savory and delicious.
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together eggs, milk, a pinch of kosher salt and pepper.
2) If you have roasted peppers already, just roughly chop them along with leeks. When preparing the leeks, cut off the root end and cut the leek into quarters. Then rinse it will to remove dirt and chop it up.
If you need to roast your peppers, you an do so on a high grill, over a gas stove top range, or in a 500 degree oven until they are blistered and black. Then let the peppers steam in a covered bowl for 10 minutes and peel them.
3) Add a drizzle of oil to a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the leeks and chiles and cook for a few minutes until veggies soften. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for a minute.
4) Distribute the veggies evenly over the cast iron skillet and pour in egg mixture. Cook on the stove top for 3-4 minutes until eggs start to set on the bottom (they will still be uncooked on top).
5) Add grated cheese to frittata and move to oven. Bake for 6-8 minutes until eggs are puffed and cheese is melted.
6) When frittata comes out, slice it into quarters and serve it with extra chiles on top.
Peppers and Leeks
If you’re lucky enough to get chiles that are already roasted, this recipe becomes almost too easy. If you need to roast your own, then that will be the hardest part of the recipe. It’s not that hard though and you have some non-blowtorch options. First, you can grill them over a super-hot grill until they are blistered. You can also carefully use a gas stove to get the same effect. Just put the peppers right on the burner. You can also roast them in a 500 degree oven until they are blistered (8-10 minutes).
Then transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap. Let them steam for 10 minutes and peel them. It’s not important to get off all the blackened skin, but try to get as much as you can.
Then you can proceed with the recipe!
Also, chile peppers come in various heat levels obviously. I used a mild version for this frittata so I could pack in a ton of peppers. If you use the hot variety, you might cut back a bit on the peppers unless you are a spicy food lover.
I used a leek instead of a regular onion for this frittata because it has a more mild flavor. I actually think leeks are also easier to prep than onions. Just cut off the root, quarter the ends, rinse them well with cold water, and dice them up.
Meanwhile, whisk together your eggs, milk, and a good pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Also preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Making the Frittata
When you’re ready to cook, add a drizzle of oil to a cast iron skillet and add the leeks and chiles over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the veggies soften and then add the garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Try to spread out the veggies so they evenly cover the pan.
Then just pour your egg mixture into the pan!
Continue to cook this over medium heat on the stove for 3-4 minutes until the eggs start to set on the bottom. Then add the grated cheese to the top of the frittata and move it to your preheated oven.
Bake this sucker for 8-10 minutes until the eggs are puffed slightly and the cheese is melted and maybe a bit brown on top.
Then slice it and serve it up!
I added a few extra chiles to my slice because I couldn’t help myself.
This is a thin frittata but really packs a lot of great flavors.
It’s a quick way to make a great brunch over the weekend that highlights one of my favorite ingredients of fall.
Give it a shot!