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Weekend Recipe: Asparagus Frittata With Kale-Pecan Pesto

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Photos by Kate Taylor

This flavorful green frittata is filled with roasted asparagus and swirled with a simple, homemade kale pesto. It's rich and a bit indulgent but still nutritionally redeeming. Serve for weekend brunch or a quick weeknight dinner. The leftovers will make for a great lunch the next day!

Pesto and Asparagus Frittata
Yields 4 to 6 servings. Leftover slices of frittata will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator. Serve leftovers cold or gently warmed.
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper 
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 pound asparagus (about 1/2 of a bunch), woody ends removed and sliced on the bias into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pesto (homemade kale pesto, see recipe below, or 4 ounces store-bought pesto)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and a pinch red pepper flakes. Whisk in the green onions and Asiago or Parmesan cheese.

Toss the asparagus in a light coating of olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on a 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron skillet (or oven-safe sauté pan). Roast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the asparagus is starting to turn golden brown at the edges. Return the pan to the stove and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Gently shake the pan to coat it in olive oil and arrange the asparagus in a single layer. Turn the burner onto medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. Dollop spoonfuls of pesto into the frittata, then use a spoon to gently swirl in the pesto (no need to mix it in thoroughly). 

Turn off the stove and return the frittata to the oven. Bake until you can jiggle the pan and see that the middle is just barely set, about 15 minutes. Let the frittata cool for a few minutes before slicing it. Serve with slices of toasted whole wheat bread rubbed with raw garlic.

Kale-Pecan Pesto 
This recipe yields a generous 3/4 cup pesto, which is more than you'll need for the frittata. The leftover pesto makes a great spread for sandwiches. 
2 packed cups kale leaves, stems removed
1/2 cup shelled pecans
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 lemon, juiced
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, toast the pecans until fragrant (about three to five minutes), stirring frequently. In a food processor, combine the kale, pecans, garlic and salt. Pulse while drizzling in the olive oil.

Transfer the mixture from the processor to a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and a big squeeze of lemon. Season with freshly ground pepper and additional sea salt to taste.

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