There were so many options when it came to choosing something to cook for Croatia. Like many other European countries there are several regional based dishes which differ greatly between the coastal areas and inland. A dish from the coastal region of Istria called fritaja with wild asparagus grabbed my attention as asparagus has just come into season in Australia and I love finding new ways to enjoy it. Fritaja is essentially a frittata although during my research I also saw photos of some versions that were served like scrambled eggs.
I haven't made a vegan frittata previously as it's not the type of dish my fellows are usually into and even though I had a few ideas about how to make one, I turned to a bookmarked recipe from the Fat Free Vegan blog for a zucchini frittata. Susan's recipe appealed to me as she used firm and silken tofu in the mixture to create varying textures - genius! I adapted her recipe slightly to cater for my asparagus, slight differences in tofu packages and used fresh chives rather than oregano.
Everything was going according to plan until we had a power outage that lasted 6 hours! I was pretty much beside myself because the frittata wasn't going to happen without an electric oven, my post for Sri Lanka wasn't going to get finished that night and I couldn't keep up to date with the frenetic pace of reading mofo posts. Oh, and then my phone ran out of power too! My frittata plans eventually went out the window, leftovers were heated on the gas stove and as all of the ingredients were prepared, I decided to get out of bed earlier the next day to finish baking it. When the power finally came back on at 9:30pm, I hastily finished my post and called it a night.
The upside of this debacle was that we were able to enjoy delicious freshly made food for lunch today and it's probably more suited for this purpose as it's quite a light dish. Another positive was that it got the tick of approval from the man after he told me this morning yet again that it wasn't going to be his type of thing. I won't pretend that this is an authentic version of a Croatian fritaja given it doesn't contain eggs or wild asparagus but it does taste pretty damn good.
Vegan Asparagus Fritaja (Adapted from Fat Free Vegan's frittata recipe)
16 stalks asparagus
300g silken tofu, drained
¼ cup soy milk
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
200g firm tofu, drained and pressed
¼ teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
¼ cup chopped chives
Line a 24cm pie dish with baking paper and lightly grease. Preheat oven to 200C.
Cut about 6-7cm off the top of 12 of the asparagus spears. Lightly steam the tips, then pat dry with paper towels. Finely chop the rest of the uncooked asparagus.
Place the silken tofu, soy milk, nutritional yeast, cornflour, turmeric, salt and pepper in a blender and process until it becomes smooth.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the shallots until they soften. Stir through the garlic, followed by the tofu sprinkled with black salt. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. When the tofu begins to brown, add the chopped asparagus and fry for a couple of minutes until the asparagus is tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the contents of the blender into the pan followed by the chives. Stir to combine the ingredients then pour the mixture into the prepared pie dish. Smooth out the top and arrange the tips of the steamed asparagus on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set.
Run a butter knife around the edges of the pie dish then invert the fritaja onto a chopping board. Carefully peel off the baking paper, then place a serving plate on the bottom and invert once again. Serve the fritaja cut into wedges.
Did you know?
The Dalmatian dog breed originated from the Dalmatian coastal region in Croatia. It was only a matter of time before some animal related trivia made it's way here!
Do you want to know where else I've been this month? Click here for the round up.