Life has been moving at break-neck speed this year. Besides the cookbook – which is due in the not-so-distant future – I’m also taking a flurry of video production classes and working full time. That’s all on top of, you know, having a life. I’m fortunate to have a very patient boyfriend who doesn’t complain too much about my crazy schedule.
With all the recipe testing for Melt, the last thing I want to do when I have free time is cook. Actually, that’s not accurate. A better way to say it would be, “I’m packed to the gills with cheese and unable to move my arms and legs.” Plus, I’m super tired after a long day at work. I’ve been eating take-out tacos more than I care to admit.
I do miss cooking for fun, though. I miss the serendipity of it all, the exciting flavor combinations I’d dream up and throw together on a whim. Some would work and some would fail, but since I had nothing at stake (or a deadline breathing down my neck) it was always a fun adventure. I really love the cookbook writing process, but I don’t think there’s a cookbook author out there who will tell you it’s not a challenge. The amount of work it takes to produce a quality product is staggering.
Occasionally, there are days when I’m tired of tacos and leftover macaroni and cheese. I want something new that I made with my own two hands, something that makes use of the lovely fresh ingredients I fawn over at the farmers market this time of year. That’s one place I find inspiration no matter what; the colors and textures of fresh summer produce never fail to quicken my pulse just a little.
Even since I created my this-side-of-sweet Dutch baby recipe for Elise’s site, I’ve been thinking about creating a savory version. The texture of the Dutch baby – light, soft, and tender – was just crying out for a few Italian ingredients. Fresh basil. Tart tomatoes. Salty parmesan. Wrapped up in the lofty body of a Dutch baby, I knew these ingredients would sing. And it made me sing, too! Despite the fact that my limbs are heavy from the 3642873642 pounds of cheese I’ve consumed this year.
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 egg white, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded, sliced into wedges, and dried with a paper towel
- 6 large basil leaves, chopped chiffonade-style
- More grated Parmesan, for topping
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Put a 10-inch cast iron skillet into the oven and heat for at least 10 minutes.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the microwave. In a blender, put the eggs, egg white, milk, flour, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Blend for about 30 seconds, until you have a very smooth batter. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula to make sure you get anything stuck to the sides.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the hot pan in the oven. Carefully, and with an oven mitt on, swirl the pan so that the butter coats the bottom of the pan. Place the pan back in the oven to keep it hot.
- Add the Parmesan to the batter and give it one more good stir. Add the tomatoes and basil to the hot pan – they will sputter in the butter – and very carefully pour the batter into the hot pan in the oven, making sure not to splatter yourself or the sides of the pan. The pan will be very hot, so be careful! Quickly use a butter knife to push a few tomatoes into the middle of the pan, as they will collect off to the side, and sprinkle the top with a little more Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the Dutch baby has grown to lofty heights and sports a golden crown. Don’t open the door of the oven while it is baking, or your Dutch baby will fall. Cue sad face.
- Remove the hot pan from the oven and gently loosen the sides of the Dutch baby with a wooden spatula or spoon. Slide the Dutch baby onto a plate and enjoy immediately, garnishing with more Parmesan if you like.
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