Herb Fritattas, fluffy and light, are remarkably versatile and when hens in the valley are producing at their height and the farmers market is chugging along, we often find four dozen (or more!) eggs in the kitchen each week. And, as the season progresses, that number dwindles until the darkest days of winter when we've no eggs at all. We don't often think of animal foods as seasonal, but they are. Milk has season. Beef and lamb and even chicken have a season too. And, of course, eggs. In 24-7 supermarkets, where animal foods from industrial farms are available every hour of every season, it's easy to lose touch with the true seasonality of the foods we eat much in the same way its easy to lose touch with just how those foods were produced.
In our home, we rely on farm-fresh ingredients and with good reason. Animals raised on pasture, as opposed to industrial farms, experience a more natural life with free access to the foods rich in nutrients such as bugs, grubs and sprouts for egg-laying hens or fresh green grass for milk cows. Clean air, clean water and clean food provides more than a humane existence for these animals; it also ensures that the meat, milks and eggs they provide us are richer in nutrients - particularly vitamin A, conjugated linoleic acid in milk products and a more favorable omega-3 : omega-6 fatty acid ratio. For this reason, I encourage you to source your ingredients directly from farms who uphold these time-honored traditions and operate through a holistic approach including pasture- and grass-based ranching.
A few weeks ago we visited the farm that produces many of our eggs, saw the hens pecking at grubs and bugs among the tall, green pasture grasses. The farm takes an intensive, holistic approach to raising their animals and producing their foods. And it is this approach - that begins with the soil and the grasses - that yields some of the most nutrient-dense and most richly flavored meats and eggs. So when eggs are in season, we use them liberally - and never shy away from these herb fritattas which require one dozen fresh from the pasture. Custards and omelets also find their way to our table.
Herb fritattas are remarkable. Remarkably simple to prepare and requiring only the simplest of ingredients - eggs, butter, fresh herbs and a touch of cream - it's imperative to use the best quality ingredients you can afford for the dish. Good quality ingredients yield better flavor and where there's flavor and color, there's nutrients. And even including the price of fresh herbs, fresh pasture-raised eggs and fresh cream, an herb fritatta is an inexpensive dish - hovering at about $1.25 per serving. Unlike omelets where eggs are barely beaten, it's important to whisk the eggs together thoroughly to produce a light, fluffy and tender fritatta. Use any fresh herbs you have available and in season - my preference is for chives, parsley and dill.