You may have heard of the Clean Out Your Fridge Method: Take all the ingredients you have that are on their last legs and dump them into an egg-based dish.
The Melting Pot Method is a little different. While it can have the side benefit of cleaning out your fridge, the primary focus is getting foods that you associate with varying cultures to jive. This does not necessarily mean you need exotic imported ingredients; for instance, the pineapple in this recipe that I chose to associate with Hawaiian culture was locally grown here in Florida.
What process can you use to employ the Melting Pot Method in your kitchen?
Choose from the variety of existent egg-based dishes. These include quiches, omelettes, frittatas, tortillas, skillets/scrambles, souffles... the list goes on. For this recipe, I started with the idea of making my egg-based dish a tortilla, which is Spanish in origin.
Pick another region and choose two ingredients that could be associated with that region's cuisine. They don't have to be exclusive; for instance, I could associate "eggplant and onions" with pretty much anywhere bordering the Mediterranean.
Step #3... Here's the trick:
After you've come up with two ingredients other than eggs and the culture they represent in your recipe, put a twist on one of them. I chose a pig-and-pineapple combo that I associate with Hawaiian cuisine; but for my pig, I used Genoa salami rather than the traditional spit-roasted pork or... well, Spam. Going back to the eggplant-and-onion idea, let's say you choose to associate that with Italy. But if you use scallions instead of white onions, suddenly it's no longer strictly Italian-influenced. Get the idea?
Add a coupla-few more ingredients based on the cultures you already have. At this juncture I added potatoes and onions, both of which appear frequently in traditional Spanish tortillas; and Parmesan cheese (Italian).
Think of two more cultures that you haven't incorporated so far. My next idea was to add extra eggs for a thicker layer, bringing to mind a crustless version of the French quiche even as I steadfastly refused to call it a crustless quiche. And finally I threw in some pepper jack cheese to honor the good old U.S. of A.
See? Nothing to it. All you need are some good free association skills and enough self-respect to stay your hand when you're about to come up with something school-cafeteria-esque.
The Chickenless Chick's Melting Pot Tortilla
1/3 c. pepper jack cheese, cubed
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c. water
6 slices cold cut Genoa salami, shredded
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 white onion, sliced thin
1 russet potato, sliced thin
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 c. pineapple, chopped
1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt 'n' pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 375.
Beat the eggs, cheeses, water, and salami together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium high. Add the onions and saute two minutes. Add the potatoes and thyme leaves. Saute until the potatoes are soft, but not falling apart.
Add the pineapple, cilantro, salt, and pepper to the pan. Saute one minute more.
Add the contents of the pan to the egg mixture and stir well to incorporate. Pour into a greased 9" pie tin.
Bake at 375 for thirty minutes or until barely browned on top. Serves 6.
Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.
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