While my immediate family is not from Iran, many Assyrians are, and the food that Iranian Assyrians make is really different from the food we Iraqi/Syrian Assyrians make. So this frittata is inspired by the fabulous recipes my Iranian friends have shared with me, specifically kuku sabzi, a springtime dish served for the Persian new year.
But even though our cuisines are quite different, the thing I love about kuku sabzi is actually the same thing I love about much of my own family’s food—herbs are used with stunning generosity. Instead of sprinkling leafy herbs as a garnish or subtle flavoring, we treat them as a substantial ingredient. So if you look at my mom’s kebabs, my grandmother’s dolma, everyone’s favorite fattoush, or just about any good tabbouleh recipe (even the slightly bulgur-heavy ones), you’ll notice that the herbs make up quite a bit of the dish’s substance.
So while this is totally not real kuku sabzi (I’ve taken some liberties, and it’s not exactly springtime in the northern hemisphere right now), it was strongly influenced by the classic. It’s a nice frittata for avid home gardeners, who are likely trying to figure out what to do with the last of their zucchini and tomatoes right about now, but it’s just as much a frittata for non-gardening tiny apartment dwellers like me. All the ingredients can easily be found in supermarkets just about everywhere.
But if you are one of those home gardeners swimming in tomatoes and zucchini (or someone who just stumbled upon a crazy deal at the farmer’s market), this is a great recipe to prep for the colder days ahead. Quality herbs are available year-round, as are the rest of the ingredients, and you can do the zucchini and tomato part ahead and freeze it. When stored properly, grated zucchini keeps really well in the freezer, and you can easily strain after thawing (you won’t need to salt it to draw out the water). Frozen slow-roast tomatoes are fabulous to have on hand year-round, and I add them to just about everything. You could totally just use sun-dried tomatoes instead (I’ve made this recipe both ways), but slow roasting in-season tomatoes make this frittata a little extra wonderful.Print
kuku sabzi inspired frittata
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 3 to 6 servings
- 1 cup grated zucchini *
- olive oil
- 1/2 of 1 small/medium onion, small-diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed through a press
- 3/4 teaspoons baharat (or 1/4 teaspoon each paprika, black pepper, ground coriander)
- 1/2 cup packed minced parsley
- 1/2 cup packed minced cilantro
- 1/4 cup packed minced dill
- 1/4 cup minced sultanas or golden raisins
- 1/2 cup grated mild, hard cheese (like cheddar)
- 1/4 cup slow roasted tomatoes (or substitute chopped sun-dried tomatoes)
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- Combine the zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and let them sit together for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take handfuls of the zucchini and wring them out, discarding the liquid (you’ll end up with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup wrung-out zucchini).
- Place a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron 10-inch skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, followed by the onion, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until it’s softened and slightly golden around the edges. Add the garlic and baharat and cook stirring constantly for 1 more minute. Remove to a mixing bowl. Coat the skillet with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and keep it over low heat for a couple minutes while you mix together the ingredients.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the wrung-out zucchini, cooked onion mixture, parsley, cilantro, dill, sultanas, cheese, tomatoes, eggs, and salt to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon). It will look like there is very little egg, and that’s ok.
- Preheat the broiler. Swirl the oil, and then pour the egg mixture into the hot skillet and increase the heat to medium. Cook without stirring for about 3 to 5 minutes on the stove, just until the bottom sets a bit, and it starts to smell a little toasty. Once the bottom is done, move it to the broiler and cook until the whole thing is set and golden brown on top (depending on your broiler, this could take between 30 seconds to 5 minutes).
* This is about 1/2 of 1 small zucchini. If you have leftover grated zucchini, save it for zucchini bread, double this recipe, or freeze it for later.