Today being Mother’s Day, my sister, brother, and I decided that the best way to honor our mother this year was by preparing a low-key brunch at home. My mother is a fabulous cook and most of what I’ve learned about cooking I learned by watching her, so I take any opportunity to return the favor. Her mother was also a fabulous cook and many of her cooking traditions, particularly Swedish ones, have been passed down through the generations. Thus, I decided to make Swedish pancakes for today’s Mother’s Day Brunch. I also like to take culinary adventures whenever possible, so I decided to try an asparagus frittata. I’ve never made a frittata in my life, but I liked the idea of being able to whip one up for brunch. I found a recipe for asparagus frittata online and gave it a whirl.
For those of you that are not Swedish and did not grow up enjoying your mother’s, your grandmother’s, or even great grandmother’s Swedish pancakes, Swedish pancakes are the small, thin pancakes known as “silver dollars.” They’re a lot easier to make than I had thought, but I’ll admit I was a little nervous making Swedish pancakes for the first time. As I prepared my first round of cakes, I felt as though my grandmother, her mother, and all the Swedish women before them were watching over me to make sure I didn’t make a mistake! Lots of responsibility in cooking a traditional family dish! They turned out wonderfully and my mother and I agreed that my grandmother was probably turning cartwheels “upstairs” in sheer delight over the success of the Swedish pancakes. To make the cakes, you must have a special griddle specifically for Swedish pancakes in order to hold the batter and form them into the tiny, little silver dollars. Of course you have to serve Swedish pancakes with lingonberries.
The original recipe I found for the asparagus frittata called for jack cheese, but I prefer aged gouda and gruyère so I used those cheeses instead. You can pretty much use any ingredient that you would ever dream of in a frittata, but the key to crispy vegetables is cooking them a little bit before adding the eggs. Avoid overcooking the vegetables as that will make the frittata soggy. Ironically, after finishing our leisurely Mother’s Day brunch, I sat down to read The New York Times Magazine only to find an article on asparagus frittata, reaffirming all of what I had found to be true about making a frittata.
Aside from adding to new dishes to my repertoire, I also picked up a new tradition that my mother has done for years; keeping a detailed record of dishes served and guests in attendance. Any time my mother hosts anyone for dinner, whether it’s another couple or a party of thirty, she types up a list of the dishes and guests so that she can revisit them in the future. We recently found an old binder that held the handwritten lists of dishes and guests from my brother’s first birthday party, in December of 1981 as well as my baptism in October of 1983. I only wish I had been old enough to sample the food.
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1/8 tsp. vanilla
1) Beat eggs until light.
2) Add rest of ingredients.
3) Fry in fry pan. Takes a short time as the pancakes are very thin.
Serves 4-5 people.
Asparagus, Gouda, and Gruyère Frittata
8 large eggs
1/2 cup shredded gouda & gruyère cheeses
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut diagonally into 1/4-in. pieces (3 cups)
3 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1) Heat the broiler to high.
2) In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cheese, salt and ground black pepper until thoroughly combined.
3) In a large ovenproof frying pant, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. When it foams, add asparagus, season with salt and black pepper, and cook until cooked through (about 5 minutes). Stir in the cilantro.
4) Reduce heat to low, pour in egg mixture, and cook until a 1-inch border of egg mixture is firm.
5) Place pan in oven and broil until some spots are browned and eggs are set.
Serves 4-5 people.