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Frittata is ideal holiday breakfast

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Baked Leek and Spinach Frittata

On a recent visit to La Playa by the Sea in Carmel, Calif., I enjoyed this breakfast treat. The hotel, once a family mansion, has been newly restored with beautiful gardens and stunning views of the gleaming Pacific. Each morning, an elaborate Champagne breakfast is served on the terrace featuring a variation on this frittata recipe. along with an array of morning breads, cereals and fruits.

The classic Italian frittata is a flat, open-faced omelet that is usually cooked over low heat until firm on the bottom and then finished in the oven. This fuss-free version, which has leeks and spinach tucked inside, is baked in the oven, which allows the cook free time to prepare other dishes. You can be as inventive as you wish with the fillings. Think seasonal and consider green and yellow squash, asparagus, mushrooms and tiny potatoes to customize this recipe.

This entree is perfect for holiday breakfasts or brunches. It’s easy to prepare with little hands-on attention and can actually be made a few hours ahead and served warm or at room temperature. The chef at La Playa serves it with his rustic tomato sauce.

Contact Diane Rossen Worthington at www.seriouslysimple.com.

Baked Leek and Spinach Frittata

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 medium leeks, light-green and white parts only, finely chopped

1 small bunch baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pinch freshly ground nutmeg

12 large eggs

14 cup half and half

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

12 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Heat an oven to 325 degrees.

Heat the oil and butter in a 9- or 10-inch nonstick skillet with an ovenproof handle (or cover a wooden handle with foil) over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the leeks are light brown. Add the chopped spinach leaves, cover and cook for about 3 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Season it with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Let it cool.

Combine the eggs, half and half and parsley in a medium mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper, and whisk vigorously until they are well blended. Stir in the cheese.

Pour the eggs over the spinach mixture in the skillet and mix the vegetables with the eggs. Place the frittata in the oven and bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until just cooked through.

Remove the frittata from oven and garnish it by sprinkling it lightly with parsley and parmesan cheese. Let it cool slightly, thenserve it in the skillet or slide it onto a round serving platter. It can also be served at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

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