Recipe

Caerphilly, leek & sweet potato frittata

by Ed Smith

Following its success at the World Cheese Awards 2016, Ed Smith shares a recipe to make the most of Gorwydd Caerphilly

Borough Market is, of course, an excellent place to get your patriotic sampling hat on. Neal’s Yard has long been a champion of British truckles, so you should definitely pop in there to discover some of them. But there are other great British cheese sellers in the Market, too. One you shouldn’t miss is the Gorwydd Caerphilly stall in Three Crown Square which, quite simply, just sells Gorwydd Caerphilly—which recently bagged a coveted Super Gold award and position as one of the 66 best cheeses at the World Cheese Awards. A rather impressive feat.

Caerphilly is a light-coloured hard cheese. It’s a little crumbly and mild, but often has a slight tang. Originally from Wales (Caerphilly, obivously), it’s now made in England too, often in the south-west—indeed, Gorwydd Caerphilly has in recent years relocated to the West Country.

Regardless of geographic location, it’s very definitely a super example of its type: it’s smoother, springier and less crumbly than other Caerphilly you might have tried before. I love the mushroomy mustiness of the outer parts, and the creamy, slightly sour middle. Super stuff.

The makers will tell you that there’s no better way to eat it than on a cracker, maybe with a little quince jelly on the side. They’ve got a point. But Caerphilly goes well in recipes where you need a hard cheese for melting, like welsh rarebit. I also found it to be a great addition to a frittata that I often make, with leek and sweet potato. Frittatas are sometimes seen as a way of using up leftovers, but this one is much more than that. 

Ingredients

600g sweet potato
2 large leeks
2 cloves of garlic
9 large eggs
150g Gorwydd Caerphilly
Butter for frying

Method

You will need a 28 or 30cm frying pan for this, preferably non-stick and with a heat resistant or removable handle. Reduce quantities by ⅓ if using a 24/26 cm pan.

Wash the sweet potatoes and cut them into wedges—there’s no need to peel them. Roast in an oven at 180C with a little oil and salt for 35-45 mins, until soft and slightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Chop the leeks in half lengthways and then slice into 1cm strips. Wash thoroughly and cook for 4 mins over a low heat with a bit of butter and a good pinch of salt. Slice the cloves of garlic thinly and add to the pan. Cook for 1-2 mins longer, until the leeks are soft and sweet. Season with pepper and a little more salt (if needed). Allow to cool a little.

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly with a fork or balloon whisk. Add the vegetables to this mix, so long as they’re not too hot to touch (we don’t want to cook the egg). Allow the mix to sit for 30 mins for flavours and seasoning to infuse.

Turn your grill on and ensure there’s shelf space for a frying pan around 4cm from the heat source.

Place a large 28/30cm frying pan on a medium flame and allow to warm. Add a knob of butter. When this is frothing, swirl the fat around the pan and gently pour in the frittata mix. Quickly move the sweet potatoes and leeks around so there’s an even spread.

After 30 secs or so, crumble the Caerphilly cheese into gaps between sweet potato wedges. Poke the cheese just below the egg surface. Cook gently for about 3 mins, until you see the base is nearly cooked, then move the pan to below the grill to cook for 1-2 mins longer, until the top of the frittata is golden brown and the contents just set. Take care not to melt your pan handle.

Remove from the grill and allow to cool for a few mins, before sliding the frittata out of the pan and portioning up. Eat warm or cold, in a weekday lunch box or taken to a picnic.

Recipe and images: Ed Smith