Whenever possible, I try to avoid making hors d'oeuvres. Perhaps my impatience gets the best of me and although I enjoy spending time on a complicated terrine or pastry, hors d'oeuvres never quite seem worth the work.
These miniature frittatas are an exception. The creation of Nancy Harris, a friend who makes her living as a caterer, this recipe yields about three dozen delicious little cocktail snacks in record time. Best of all, these frittatas freeze beautifully and reheat in minutes so they are always handy to have on hand in the freezer.
A minimum of fuss is required to produce the small frittatas since the food processor dispatches chores like grating the Parmesan cheese, chopping the shallots and sweet red pepper and shredding zucchini. Since ingredients go directly from the processor into a mixing bowl, preparation time is minimal.
Leave it to a caterer to discover a trick for holding the frittatas together as well as presenting them beautifully: a thin slice of air-dried sausage or pepperoni. The sausage acts as a base and does double duty as a hidden, flavorful surprise.
The frittatas are molded in miniature muffin cups, and provided the tin is non-stick, the frittatas release easily. If the tin does not have a non-stick surface, it will be necessary to coat the cups generously with butter or vegetable shortening since the high proportion of cheese tends to cause the frittatas to stick.
4 (1-inch) cubes Parmesan cheese, rind removed
4 medium shallots, peeled
1/2 small sweet red pepper, cored and cubed
1 medium zucchini, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
36 very thin slices air-dried Italian sausage or pepperoni
Insert metal blade in food processor. Process cheese until ground. Transfer to large bowl. Mince shallots by adding to machine with motor on. Add sweet red pepper and chop with 1/2-second pulses. Add to bowl.
Change to medium shredding disc. Shred zucchini with firm push. Add to bowl with bread crumbs, ricotta, oregano, pepper and egg. Stir well. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Place 1 slice sausage in bottom of 36 non-stick miniature muffin cups. Top each with spoonful of egg mixture. Bake at 375 degrees 25 minutes until just set. While still hot, carefully remove from muffin tins. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature or rewarm before serving. Makes 3 dozen.