This was going to be a post about how spring has arrived in East London. It’s all written and everything. All I had to do was take some photos of crocuses and my work here was done.
But today it’s miserable outside. So instead it’s going to be a frittata recipe – part of a new series I’m optimistically titling Ridley Road Recipes.
The first stop for this dish is the Egg Lady at Ridley Road market in Dalston. She runs the shop with her husband, although for some reason she always serves me. I think he deals more with behind-the-scenes stock control. I usually buy her free-range eggs, which come from a farm in Essex, but she’s got all kinds, even duck eggs. Very cheap (around £1.30), very fresh and much nicer than supermarket eggs. They are at the Kingsland Road end of the market – you can’t miss them.
The next stop is buying whatever veggies look good. Today I used leeks, tomatoes, a bit of leftover sweet potato mash and even a single broccoli stalk I plucked from the bottom of my veggie drawer (I have a genetic phobia of food wastage).
Simply heat up some olive oil in a small, heavy-based pan. Add the chopped veg and cook over a low heat for as long as your blood sugar will let you – this is a trick from my mate Gabby, who told me it makes the veggies caramelise. This advice has basically revolutionised my frittata experience. She also adds chopped fresh mint to hers. It will come as no surprise that her dinner invitations are rarely turned down.
Crack two or three eggs into a bowl – again, depending on blood sugar levels – and throw in a little salt and pepper. Beat briefly with a fork, then pour over your softened veggies. You can add a little soy sauce at this point too, or just leave it simple.
Let it cook for a few minutes until you can lift up the bottom of the frittata with a fork. Then pop it under the grill for another couple of minutes to cook the top. You can carefully flip it instead, but grilling will make it all golden and puffed on top. I finish with a dash of oyster sauce, but it’s up to you. Slide onto a plate and dig in.
PS Visit http://www.metricmartyrs.co.uk/ for another reason to support the market’s hard-working traders. In 2007 Hackney Council took action against Ridley Roaders, telling them that they must sell produce ‘by the kilo, not by the box or by the each.’
A crime against common sense and the Queen’s English if you ask me.
Or just vote with your feet (and belly) and head down to Ridley Road with your shopping basket on a Saturday morning.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of Ridley Road Recipes – Leon’s Famous Beef Curry