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Oct 29, 2013
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WINE WITH…Bacon, Potato and Zucchini Frittata

It’s easy to make a list of frittata’s charms. Frittatas are delicious. They are easy to make. Since there are no set rules when it comes to ingredients, a frittata offers a good excuse to clean out the fridge. Because it can easily be whipped together at the last minute, a frittata forms the platform for a perfect impromptu dinner. And best of all from our perspective, a frittata can be supremely wine friendly.

It all began one evening with the fact that we had plenty of eggs on hand and some bacon in the freezer. And so in due time, onions were minced, cheese grated, and a handful of small potatoes parboiled. Too bad there were no mushrooms lurking in the bottom of the fridge, but we decided that a couple of zucchini might pinch-hit satisfactorily. After we slid the frittata into the hot oven for its final five minutes of cooking, one of us sliced up a baguette and drizzled olive oil and lemon juice over salad greens while the other opened a bunch of wines to taste with the dish.


Frittata with Bacon and Zucchini

Serves 2

4-5 slices bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 or 6 fingerling or other small potatoes, cooked, peeled and cut in bite-size pieces
salt and pepper
6 eggs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream (optional)
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a cast iron or other sturdy skillet cook the bacon until it begins to get crisp, then drain the slices on a paper towel. When cool enough to handle, tear the bacon into bite-size pieces and reserve. Wipe the pan out with a paper towel (do not wash it) and add a tablespoon of the oil. Add the zucchini and cook until it is tender and lightly browned. Remove it and reserve. Add the onion to the pan and cook until it begins to soften; then add the garlic and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about five minutes.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a large bowl, add the mustard and sour cream, and whisk the mixture until it is thoroughly blended. Fold in salt, pepper and about half of the cheddar cheese.

Add the bacon and zucchini to the onions along with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Pour in the eggs, smooth the mixture with a fork, and cook over medium heat for about five minutes. Scatter the remaining cheddar and all of the Parmesan over the top, and then quickly transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Cook the frittata uncovered for another five minutes, or until it is just set. Cut in wedges and serve immediately.

* * *

A frittata is inherently subtle. The eggs, potatoes and other ingredients soothe rather than assault your taste buds. It’s true “comfort food”-- warm and stisfying, not powerful or exuberant. Any wine you choose to go with it thus needs to fit a similar profile. Big, bold flavors will seem excessive, while more nuanced ones will be rewarding. We tasted thirteen different wines with our frittata. They were just about equally divided by color and, to our surprise, the reds worked just as well if not better than the whites. Regardless of color, though, our take-home lesson was to select a wine with quiet charm rather than one with forceful brawn. This is a dish that invites you to relax. Let the wine to the same.

Selection

Approx. Price

Comments

Angelini, Marche (Italy) Sangiovese 2008

(Imported by Angelini Wine Ltd.)

$12

Dusty and ever so slightly tart, this light-bodied red echoes the dry hot summers of central Italy. Its fruit seems dried as much as fresh, and it has a lingering herbal, amaro-like bitter tang in the finish. There’s nothing flashy about it, just satisfaction.

Chateau de Sours, Bordeaux (France) Bordeaux Blanc 2011

(Imported by Old Bridge Cellars)

$18

There is a hint of citrus-tinged Sauvignon Blanc here, but the wine as a whole does not so much exhibit varietal character as regional identity, with a fairly full, almost waxy texture and deep rather than bright flavors. It tastes fresh but subdued, as if the passage of a couple of years has brought out previously obscured sources of subtle but real pleasure.

Matua, Marlborough (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2011

(Imported by TWE Imports)

$14

Light in color, with pliant tannins and a smooth, almost silky texture, this Pinot Noir reflects the cool growing conditions in New Zealand’s South Island. It tastes of dark cherry fruit with a hint of cedar and toasty spice in the finish. Just the right body to pair with a frittata, it made for an outstanding pairing and, as an added bonus, sports a very attractive price tag.

Mouton Cadet, Bordeaux (France) Bordeaux Rouge 2010

(Imported by Constellation Imports)

$12

Wine snobs often look down their noses at this wine, the best-selling red Bordeaux in the United States, but the 2010 rendition outperforms many seemingly more prestigious wines and comes at a very affordable price. The key to its success is that it does not try to be anything more than it is – a medium-weight red with deep, satisfying flavors but no flash or glitz. It’s a comfort wine to accompany a comfort dish.

Stinson Vineyards, Monticello (Virginia) Chardonnay 2012

$20

Chardonnay often pairs well with egg-based dishes, and this wine worked quite well with our frittata. It tastes of autumn fruit with a kiss of vanilla, and lingers effortlessly in its finish. Delightful and classy, much more so than a California rendition which was so laden with oak flavor that it felt incredibly heavy and cumbersome.