Thursday, June 18, 2009

the humble frittata

Peasant cooking at it's best, many cookbook authors and magazine writers have touted the simplicity of this Italian staple. Nearly identical to the Spanish tortilla, the frittata is the ideal vehicle to dispose of leftover vegetables and other items languishing in your fridge. It is also an ideal summer meal, as it requires just a few minutes in the broiler and tastes great the following day, even served cool or at room temperature. Many variations exist, but core elements include sauteed vegetables, cheese and/or cream, and at least six eggs. The recipe below is a hybrid of several recipes that is easy to prepare and works well for me. I've listed some suggested ingredients but this dish is so flexible that I strongly encourage using nearly any ingredient that would taste good with eggs. Bacon is quite tasty, as well as leftover roast turkey or chicken.


  • 6-8 eggs, depending on the size of your skillet and appetite
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered (or other vegetables)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (parsley, basil, or thyme)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, or chevre work well)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
  • large, well seasoned cast iron or stainless steel skillet (you could use nonstick but I don't recommend it because of new research regarding toxins) - make sure the skillet has a metal handle, as it will go in the broiler
  • oven with a broiler
  1. Preheat your broiler. Heat two tablespoons of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is nearly smoking, add the onions and mushrooms. Sauté them until the mushrooms have released their juices and the liquid has evaporated from the pan (10-15 minutes).
  2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cream/milk, and herbs. Beat vigorously with a whisk or fork for several minutes (this will make the frittata fluffy).
  3. Lower the heat to low, stir in remaining olive oil, and pour the egg mixture in the skillet. Lightly stir eggs to incorporate sautéed vegetables.
  4. Once the eggs at the bottom have started to firm up, add the cheese and fold it into the egg mixture that is still liquid.
  5. Put the skillet in the broiler and cook for 3-6 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the eggs are no longer runny (but do not overcook).
  6. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and slice into wedges.
  7. Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.
*Serves 4 as a main event or 6 as a first course

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