Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

The theme for this month's Spice is Right, hosted by Barbara from Tigers & Strawberries was fresh and local. This was a two part process, firstly to use a locally grown spice and then use it with as many local ingredients as possible.

I decided to go for an indigenous Australian spice in the form of Mountain Pepper Leaf.

ground mountain pepper© by haalo

Mountain Pepper trees are found in the Alpine Rainforests of Tasmania. The leaves are harvested from the wild and are then dried and ground. This results in an olive green powder which has smoky notes and a peppery aftertaste.

When cooking it's best to use this near the end of your cooking time to maximise it's flavour. When used to marinate, the flavour will intensify with time. It's advised that 1 teaspoon of ground Mountain Pepper leaves will flavour 500 grams of ingredients.

Having found the spice it was now time to focus on finding the ingredients I'd be using - even though it's winter there's still quite a choice.

mixed winter vegetables© by haalo

The bounty of winter vegetables include Butternut Pumpkin, Cavolo Nero, Yellow Button Squash, Carrot, Red Capsicum, Potato, Zucchini, Sweet Potato, Red Onion, Swede, Turnip, Field Mushroom and Eggplant.

In the end I could think of no better dish to make then a Vegetable Frittata.

roasted vegetable frittata© by haalo

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 kilogram assorted vegetables of your choice
ground Mountain Pepper Leaf
freshly ground salt
4 eggs
½ cup cream
¾ cup milk
4 baby bocconcini, roughly ripped.
grated Parmigiano

The method behind this frittata is a little different. Apart from the potatoes (and in this case the Cavolo Nero), all the other vegetables will be roasted in the oven first, to soften and develop a little caramelisation. This is done to help develop the vegetables flavour.

Depending on the vegetables used, you should cut them in sizes that will allow them to cook at roughly the same kind. For softer vegetables like zucchini and mushroom you would cut them larger then say pumpkin and onion.

roasted vegetable frittata© by haalo

Once your vegetables are cut, place them into a bowl with a little olive oil and 1 teaspoon of ground Mountain Pepper Leaf. Stir well and let this sit for a few hours to enhance the flavour.

Roast in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.

While the vegetables are roasting, boil the potatoes until just softened and the cavolo nero until soft. Drain and set aside.

To assemble:

Line your baking dish with baking paper, this will help when it comes to serving and removing it from the dish.

Sprinkle the base with the softened potato slices - this gives you a solid base on which to build your frittata. Stir the Cavolo Nero through the roasted vegetables and then sprinkle half of this over the potatoes. Stud with the ripped Bocconcini before topping with the remaining vegetables.

roasted vegetable frittata© by haalo

Whisk the eggs with the cream and milk, season with a little salt and a half teaspoon of the ground Mountain Pepper Leaf. Pour this over the vegetables and then sprinkle over with a little grated Parmigiano.

Return to the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes or until cook through and golden.

roasted vegetable frittata© by haalo

Cool slightly before removing from the pan and slicing. Word of warning, you've got to be quick...

roasted vegetable frittata© by haalo

once you've plated it, it will be flying off your table!


  1. What a great fritatta! All those colours :) I've been too scared to try native Australian spices, but this looks like a great recipe to start with!

  2. Thanks Ellie - I haven't really used native spices before either, this does give a nice smoky hint to the frittata, nothing too overpowering. It supposed to be a really good match for potatoes.

  3. What a beautiful looking frittata. I've been playing with wattleseeds for this month's Spice is Right and saw the Mountain Pepper Leaf, but decided that experimenting with one new spice was enough for me at the moment. Now I can go back, buy the Mountain Pepper and try out your frittata idea. Thanks for recipe.

  4. Thank you Kathryn - it was wonderful to see another Australian spice in the round up. You're so right that wattleseed is always used in sweet recipes you've supplied a new way of looking at it. Should be interesting to compare the Pepper Berry with the flavours of the leaf.

  5. AnonymousJune 03, 2008

    Like, Yum!


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